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A Special Guest Comes to Mary & Martha's House
Summary of Lesson Activities:
Enact the story; relate to Mary and Martha and recognize the importance of listening for God.
By acting out this short story of Jesus with friends the students will be able to relate to Mary and Martha and recognize the importance of listening for God.
- Read the scripture ahead of time.
- Print out the script.
- Go over the script.
Opening - Welcome and Lesson Introduction:
The Shepherds will introduce you to the class and turn their attention over to you. The Shepherds will help you know their group and control behavior. By the second or third rotation week most students will know the story and become bored with too much recap. Rely on the Shepherds for clues.
Here is an example. “Dear creator of us and the world. Help us sing the song of Martha for she got to prepare food for Jesus! Lord help us sing the song of Mary for she got to hear the words of Jesus from his own lips! Help us learn to better use the eyes and ears You gave us.”
Teacher Hints for Drama:
Use the Shepherds! They know the class and can help in casting. They also know who hasn’t had a chance to perform. Try to “confab” with the Shepherd in advance of class by phone or as they enter the room. They can also help you determine your best readers. Try to cast WITHOUT asking for volunteers.
I do not recommend costumes or props for this rotation. Use costuming at your own risk! The kids often spend too much time fretting over the props and not enough time exploring the action and the feelings.
Tell the kids they are using an advanced acting technique called pantomime. They need to let their bodies tell the story.
Most ages will need to be “double cast” pick a reader and an actor. Probably only the 5th graders could handle reading and acting.
It is handy to have a script highlighted for each reading part and nametags to identify the actors.
Everyone gets a part in this play, Jesus can have as many disciples and followers as you have students.
Much of Mary and Martha’s dialogue is from the story “My Sister’s Keeper” by Renita Weems in Just a Sister Away. I recommend you read the whole story as preparation.
Dig - Main Content and Reflection:
Perform the Skit: (See script below)
Wrapup: As time permits revisit & discuss theses concepts.
Concepts & Points to Ponder:
- There are two kinds of hospitality…you have to “get ready”, but you also have to pay attention to the guest.
- Jesus wants us to have a good attitude.
- Do the best you can with your talents.
- Jesus wants us aware of the needs of others, to be considerate.
- Don’t worry about the little things.
- Explore the story from the perspective of Martha, Mary, and Jesus.
- What could Martha have done differently? Simpler meal, less need to have everything perfect, asked for help earlier, etc.
Close with prayer and turn the class back over to the Shepherds.
Script: A Special Guest Comes to Mary & Martha's House
By Lisa Bohbrink
Martha, Mary, Lazarus, Jesus, Disciples
Direction and Interruption, particularly of the younger classes is encouraged to facilitate their acting and give them ideas. You will often read the stage directions in ( ) aloud and then the kids will react.
A small, cozy home of one room in Bethany. Determine where the imaginary front door is. Jesus will be shown to the right side of the “room” and the “kitchen” is on the left. Mary is pacing back and forth. Martha is chopping something in the kitchen (Mary is never still, she stays busy sweeping, chopping, stirring, opening the door, the whole play)
~ ~ ~ ~
MARY: I HOPE THEY GET HERE SOON! DO YOU THINK HE’LL BE TOO TIRED TO TALK? HE’S BEEN PREACHING SO MUCH, DID YOU HEAR THE ONE ABOUT THE TINY MUSTARD SEED AND THE ONE ABOUT THE SAMARITAN! OH MAN HE IS SOOO SMART, HE REALLY MAKES YOU THINK!
MARTHA: WHAT? I COULDN’T HEAR YOU, I’M BUSY. HOW MANY PEOPLE ARE COMING WITH HIM?, I WISH LAZARUS WOULD GIVE ME A LITTLE WARNING. I REALLY HOPE THEY LIKE THIS NEW BREAD RECIPIE I GOT FROM THE OTHER MARTHA……STEWART.
MARY: THEY’RE HERE, THEY’RE HERE!
(Lazarus & Jesus enter)
LAZARUS: HELLO GIRLS I’VE BROUGHT COMPANY! COME AND SEE!
MARY: HELLO JESUS, IT IS SO NICE OF YOU TO COME HAVE DINNER WITH US, WELCOME, COME…. LET ME HELP YOU TAKE OFF YOUR SANDLES, YOU WILL BE COMFY OVER HERE.
MARTHA: (looks over to see them enter, but does not leave the kitchen) WELCOME JESUS, I AM SO HAPPY TO COOK FOR YOU! PLEASE MAKE YOURSELF AT HOME I WILL BE FINISHED SHORTLY.
(a knock on the door. Martha stops what she is doing, looks at Lazarus and Mary who are talking quietly with Jesus. They don’t move to the door….Martha puts down her work and answers the door)
MARTHA: (opens the door for DISCIPLE #1) WELCOME, HE’S HERE, PLEASE COME IN DINNER WILL BE READY SOON, EXCUSE ME PLEASE (Disciple joins the group at Jesus’ feet)
(Martha returns to her business…….but there is another knock at the door…… Martha stops what she is doing, looks at Lazarus and Mary. They don’t move to the door….she puts down her work and answers the door)
MARTHA: (opens the door for DISCIPLE #2) WELCOME, HE’S HERE, PLEASE COME IN DINNER WILL BE READY SOON, EXCUSE ME PLEASE (Disciple joins the group at Jesus’ feet)
(Martha returns to her business…….but there is another knock at the door..Martha is getting a little frustrated with the interruptions…..CONTINUE AS BEFORE UNTILL ALL HAVE ARRIVED,in groups if class is large)
(Jesus and group FREEZE as if listening)
MARTHA: (talking to herself as she cooks) I HAVE BEEN TOLD I’M BOSSY, PUSHY AND I ARGUE TOO MUCH. BUT I HAVE TO! I’M A WOMAN TRYING TO MAKE IT IN A MAN’S WORLD. THEY DON’T THINK WHAT I DO IS IMPORTANT. BUT I LIKE COOKING, CLEANING, SEWING, WASHING AND EVERYTHING ELSE I DO TO MAKE OUR HOME COMFORTABLE AND WELCOMING! YES THERE ARE TIMES WHEN I GET A LITTLE TENSE. CAN YOU IMAGINE JESUS COMING AS A GUEST TO YOUR HOUSE! CAN’T THEY UNDERSTAND THAT I WANT EVERYTHING TO BE PERFECT! AND NOW HERE WE ARE……NOBODY TOLD ME ALL OF HIS FOLLOWERS WERE COMING FOR DINNER TOO! YIKES! I NEED MORE BEANS, CUCUMBERS, ONIONS, GARLIC AND BREAD….MAYBE THEY’LL FILL UP ON GRAPES! OH NO THE FIRE IS TRYING TO GO OUT..I NEED MORE WOOD, I’LL HAVE TO GO TO THE WELL AGAIN FOR WATER. MAYBE MARY WILL COME HELP ME……NO WAY, LOOK AT HER SITTING AT JESUS’S FEET. WHO DOES SHE THINK SHE IS, A MAN? I HAVE A MIND TOO! I PRAY, NOT A MUCH AS I LIKE, BUT I DO TALK TO GOD. MARY HAS THIS GIFT OF BEING ABLE TO MAKE PEOPLE FEEL IMPORTANT…LIKE THEY HAVE HER FULL ATTENTION. THE ONLY WAY I KNOW TO SHOW MY LOVE AND CARING IS BY CLEANING AND FUSSING. IT’S JUST NOT FAIR! I’VE BEEN COOKING ALL DAY! (Martha stomps over to where Jesus is talking to the others)
LORD! DON’T YOU CARE THAT SISTER IS MAKING ME DO ALL THE WORK! TELL HER TO COME HELP ME!
(this is a good place to stop and think how everyone would react to Martha’s tantrum)
JESUS: MARTHA! CALM DOWN, YOU ARE WORRIED ABOUT TOO MUCH LITTLE STUFF. MARY HAS CHOSEN WHAT IS BEST FOR HER AND YOU CAN’T TAKE THAT FROM HER.
MARTHA: (turns away, as if to hide and talks to herself…everyone else in FREEZE) OH MY, I’VE BLOWN IT. ALL OF MY SWEAT AND WORK ARE WASTED. MY BAD ATTITUDE HAS CANCELLED ALL OF THE LOVE I MEANT TO SHOW WITH MY WORK. I HAD NO RIGHT TO ATTACK MY SISTER IN FRONT OF ALL OF THESE IMPORTANT PEOPLE. OH HOW EASY IT IS FOR SISTERS TO BE MEAN TO EACH OTHER. (she drops to the floor, covers her face with her hands and FREEZES)
MARY: (unfreeze, stand and speak to herself) FOR AS LONG AS I CAN REMEMBER, MARTHA AND I HAVE BEEN DIFFERENT. WE SEE THE WORLD DIFFERENTLY. BUT TO BE HONEST I’M NOT LIKE ANY OTHER JEWISH WOMAN I KNOW! I WANT TO READ, STUDY AND WRITE….BUT JEWISH GIRLS DON’T GET TO DO THAT. MAMA ALWAYS SAID “PUT DOWN THAT BOOK AND GO PEEL AN ONION!” LAZARUS IS A LUCKY DUCK, HE GET TO GO TO SCHOOL. MAYBE IF I WERE MORE LIKE MARTHA IS WOULDN’ T HURT SO MUCH TO HAVE BEEN BORN A GIRL. BECAUSE MARTHA LIKES TO SERVE AND DO FOR OTHERS, FATHER ALWAYS LOVED HER THE MOST. IT’S NOT THAT I WON’T SERVE OTHERS, BUT JUST THAT I’D RATHER LISTEN AND LEARN. LAZARUS TOLD ME ABOUT HIS NEW FRIEND JESUS, HE HAS BEEN CALLED MANY THINGS, BUT TO ME HE IS AN AMAZING TEACHER AND PREACHER……WHEN I FIRST HEARD HIM SPEAK, SOMETHING INSIDE ME FELL ON ITS FACE. HE TOLD WONDERFUL STORIES, EVEN STORIES ABOUT WOMEN…..GOD BELONGS TO YOU TOO MARY! I HAVE TO ADMIT WHEN MARTHA LOST IT AND JESUS TOLD HER TO LEAVE ME ALONE….I HAD A LITTLE SMILE ON MY FACE….BUT…..THEN I SAW HER TURN AWAY ASHAMED AND HURT. I REALIZE SHE WASN’T CHALLENGING MY RIGHT TO LEARN, SHE WAS JUST MAD THAT I WAS LEARNING WHILE SHE DID ALL THE WORK. I DIDN’T EVEN THINK TO OFFER TO HELP SO THAT SHE COULD SIT WITH JESUS TOO.
IT DIDN’T TAKE ME LONG TO FIGURE OUT THAT JESUS WASN’T TAKING SIDES…HE WAS WAITING FOR US TO TALK TO EACH OTHER AND WORK OUT OUR TROUBLES. HOW EASY IT IS TO THINK OF WHAT WE SHOULD HAVE DONE DIFFERENTLY, ONCE WE’VE ALREADY HURT THE ONES WE LOVE THE MOST.
- Weems, Renita J., Just a Sister Away: A Womanist Vision of Women’s Relationships in the Bible, 1988. ISBN: 0-931055-52-0
[Exchange Volunteer's note: I had a chance to look at the book referenced. The author of this skit has not violated copyright.]