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Mary and Martha

Drama Workshop


Summary of Lesson Activities:
Students will experience through drama the story of Mary and Martha and be able to respond to questions regarding the events as they unfold. Students will be able to experience how Mary and Martha felt using charades.

Scripture Reference:
Luke 10:38-42.

Key Verse:
Luke 10:40 “Martha was worried about all that had to be done. Finally, she went to Jesus and said, ‘Lord, doesn’t it bother you that my sister has left me to do all the work by myself? Tell her to come and help me!’” (CEV)

Bible Background Note:
Jesus’ encounter with Martha and Mary, as recorded in these verses, is part of a larger series of reflections on how to be a good disciple. In these verses in Luke, Mary is the one who models hospitality for her honored guest.

Concepts:

  • God wants us to have a good attitude.
  • God has given us different talents to help others.
  • Do the best you can and don’t worry about what others are doing.
  • Don’t worry about little things.

Lesson Objectives:

  • Students will explore ‘fairness’ and ‘unfairness’.
  • Students will experience through drama the story of Mary and Martha and be able to respond to questions regarding the events as they unfold.
  • Students will be able to experience how Mary and Martha felt using charades.

Supplies List:

  • table
  • bowl
  • wooden spoon
  • chair and/or mat
  • beret
  • megaphone
  • roll of red fabric
  • costumes and headdresses

Leader Preparation:

  • Read the scripture ahead of time.
  • Gather the materials.


Presentation


Opening - Welcome and Introductions:

Welcome the kids and introduce yourself.
Start the lesson time with prayer.

Dig - Main Content and Reflection:


Bible Story:
Spend some time on the scripture passages referenced above. Highlight parts of the scripture that reinforce the lesson concepts (listed at beginning of this lesson plan) that are demonstrated in these passages.

Application:

Part 1 - Drama

  1. Decide who is going to play the 5 characters (Mary, Martha, Jesus, Narrator, and Director).
  2. Have other children set up the set (see script for set details).
  3. Have the scripts for the 5 characters highlighted with their part, the rest of the kids can be the audience and follow along with their unhighlighted scripts.

If the group consists of some nonreaders, you can act as Narrator and read the entire script while kids act out the scene.

Make sure that the director yells out “FREEZE” and the actors hold their position. This is where the audience will get involved.

The director (or you as workshop leader) can ask for responses to the questions posed in the script. Don’t spend too much time on these questions, or you will not have time to do the charades.

After the Drama:

Discussion:
Ask the kids, “Since both Martha and Mary have this close friendship with Jesus, what problem develops in the story?” or “Someone was not happy about the way things were going after Jesus arrived. Who was that? Why was she not pleased?”

[The idea of “it’s not fair” will probably come up! Children recognize feelings of unfairness all too well. This activity is to help them focus on some of their experiences, and therefore relate to Martha and Mary’s situations more personally.]

Part 2 - Charades

  • Divide the group into teams of 3 or 4.
  • Give them five to ten minutes to name some “I don’t think it’s fair….” experiences from their own lives and to prepare a charade type presentation for the whole group.

[Their experience can deal with siblings, parents, friends, school, teachers, or neighbors. Have them take turns presenting the charades for the group to guess what is happening.]

With the younger kids, have some cards with possible charade suggestions or pictures that suggest possible “unfair” situations.


Alternative to Charades
You may decide that instead of doing the charades you may want to simply repeat the drama scene and have 5 different kids play the roles.

Reflection Time:
Shepherds will pass out the journals and pencils/markers. The children should spend a few minutes reflecting upon the morning’s lesson –some might write about the “unfair” situation they thought of for the charade, write about what they do for ‘quiet time’, write down the Key Scripture Verse for this workshop.

Closing:

  1. Have the kids name something that worries or bothers them, like Martha worried about all the things that had to be done to be a good hostess for Jesus. Have them take this worry and “throw it” into the center of your prayer circle.
  2. Say the Key Verse together. (see above). You may want to have this verse printed on a banner and hung in the room, write it on the white board in the room, or have it on slips of paper that each child can read and take with them.
  3. Pray! Ask the kids if they have any prayer requests. Thank God for being with us at all times. Ask God to hear and help with all the ‘worries’ that were shared and ‘thrown’ into the prayer circle. Pray for all those who are busy and bothered – help us to stop and take time to listen for and to God.


References:
Along the Road With Jesus, The Storyteller Series, Christian Board of Publication, 1994.


SCRIPT: MARY, MARTHA AND JESUS

A short drama for 5 characters

Set: place a table with a bowl and wooden spoon to one side and a chair and a mat or two chairs to the other side. The set requires just enough room for Martha to stand and Mary and Jesus to sit. Martha will also need a roll of red fabric. Provide Mary, Martha, and Jesus with robes and headdresses. The director will need a beret and a megaphone or rolled paper cone.

Narrator: Jesus and the disciples had been traveling. Jesus entered a certain village named Bethany where a woman named Martha welcomed him into her home.

Martha (rolls out the red carpet for Jesus to enter the house): Welcome, Jesus. Please have a seat. My sister Mary and I are very glad that you are here. Make yourself at home, while I tend to dinner.

(Jesus sits on one of the chairs while Mary sits on the floor at Jesus’ feet. Martha picks up the pot and spoon and stirs.)

Narrator: Martha’s sister Mary lived with her. Usually she helped Martha, but today Mary sat at Jesus’ feet and listened to his teachings and stories. Meanwhile Martha was busy getting the meal ready.

Martha (goes over to Jesus): Teacher, do you not care that my sister has left me to do all the work by myself. Tell her then to help me.

Director: FREEZE! (Call “freeze” through your megaphone. The players will stop and the you ask the audience):
1.What do you think happened next?
2.What do you think Jesus should say to Mary? To Martha?

After a brief discussion with Workshop Leader, audience and actors, the play resumes with Martha repeating her last line.

Martha (goes over to Jesus): Teacher, do you not care that my sister has left me to do all the work by myself. Tell her then to help me.

Jesus: Martha, Martha, you are worried and bothered by many things. There is need of only one thing. Mary has chosen the better part, which will not be taken away.

Director: FREEZE!
1. What did Mary choose?
2. What to you think Jesus meant?

Narrator: Jesus was saying that it is all right to be busy, but that there are times when we need to sit quietly and listen to him. Jesus may also mean that there are times when we also need to give, like Martha, but we also need times to receive, like Mary.




This lesson plan is copyrighted and belongs to the Kirk of Kildaire Presbyterian, Cary North Carolina. It may be used for non-profit uses only.

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Drama Workshop

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.

Scripture Reference:
Luke 10:38-42

Lesson Objective:
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.


Teacher Preparation:

  • Read the scripture ahead of time.
  • Print out the script.
  • Go over the script.


Presentation

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.

Pray:
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.

Closing:
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

Cast
Martha, Mary, Lazarus, Jesus, Disciples

Director Hints:
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.

Setting:
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.


Reference:

  • 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.]

A lesson written by Lisa Bohbrink from Saint Andrews-Covenant Presbyterian Church
Wilmington, NC

A representative of Rotation.org reformatted this post to improve readability and added a fun game workshop title to tie-in with the others.

Puppet lesson (especially for younger students) for Mary and Martha's visit with Jesus

I find that make and take puppet lessons like this one work especially well to help younger children practice retelling Bible stories and sharing their faith with others.

This lesson activity from "Meaningful Mama" focuses on the importance of spending time with Jesus: MARY & MARTHA CRAFT TEACHES AVAILABILITY.

MaryMarthaPuppets

LESSON PLAN:

As children arrive, look at picture Bibles and talk about favorite Bible stories. Can they remember stories as they look at the pictures?

Tell the children they will be hearing a true story about Jesus visiting two good friends named Mary and Martha, from the Gospel of Luke. Show the children how to find the Gospels as you open your Bible to Luke 10.

Ask, “Jesus was visiting the home of special friends in today’s Bible story. Do you have friends who you like to visit? How do you get ready for visitors? What do you do when you visit?”

Read the passage.

Martha needed to take time to stop and listen. What about us? Do we give God our full attention? God knows that how we spend our time is important. We can work and play all day, but the most important thing we need to do is spend time with Jesus. We do that by praying, reading the Bible, and worshipping God at church. We have to stay connected to Jesus so we will know what He wants us to do.

Discuss the importance of reading the Bible and hearing God's word, as Mary was doing. How can we spend more time with Jesus this week?

Continue the discussion as the children make puppets.

Puppet Activity Summary:

Materials:  Wide craft sticks (3 per child); googly eyes; yarn for hair; paper, felt, or ribbon for dresses and Jesus’ robe; glue sticks; scissors; colored pencils or markers, shoebox, construction paper.

Make puppets to retell the story. Have children glue on eyes and draw the rest of the three characters’ faces. Glue on yarn for hair (and beard on Jesus if desired).

Optional puppet stage/diorama house: use paper to create an interior scene in the box. Cut a slit in the bottom to slide the puppets in.

As the children work, recall what happened in the story.

When they are finished, have them use their three puppets to retell the story of Jesus’ visit to Martha and Mary. (Demonstrate retelling while reading the Bible passage.) Encourage them to share the story with their families later today.

When parents arrive to pick up children, encourage them to have their children share today’s story using the puppets.  (This is an important part of equipping parents in discussing the Bible with their children.)

Attachments

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Last edited by CreativeCarol

First Presbyterian Church-Jackson, TN

MasterPeace Theatre-Drama & Puppetry Workshop

Mary and Martha – Finding the Balance!

This lesson created and copyrighted by State Street UMC, Bristol, VA, 2002.  Permission granted for non-commercial, local church use, provided credit is give to the source.

Scripture References:   Luke 10:38-42

Theme: Taking time for God is the most important thing!  The balanced Christian life includes spending time with God and serving others.

Memory Verse:   “Be still and know that I am God.”  Psalm 46:10

Objectives and Life Application:

  • Children will locate the story in the Bible.
  • Children will recall the events of the story and restate in their own words.
  • Children will identify Mary, Martha and Lazarus as good friends of Jesus.
  • Children will describe the role and everyday life of New Testament Jewish women.
  • Children will explore the meaning and importance of hospitality to Jewish families.
  • Children will describe service to others and worship of God as the two main components of the Christian life.
  • Children will discuss ways to balance these two items.
  • Children will identify things in their own lives which keep them from taking time to be with God.
  • Children will identify their own talents and discuss how they can best use them to serve God.
  • Children will memorize Psalm 46:10.

Preparation and Room Set Up:

Review the background information sheets and lesson materials.

General Tips for Drama Workshop Leaders
  • You may wish to organize costumes or puppets ahead of time to cut down on a flurry of activity and possible hurt feelings. Have props ready ahead of time. This is especially important for the younger children.  The older children often are very creative with props and costumes.
  • You will want to limit the amount of time the children are allowed to dress-up. (They can easily spend the entire class time selecting costumes!)
  • Be sure that all children are involved in some way. Some children are intimidated by the prospect of being on a stage. Offer them alternative roles as well as the children who do not have main parts. They can always be “sound effects” or “crowds” or stagehands to help change scenery, or video camera operators (for the older children). Remember as well that children can draw the backdrop for the drama on the blackboard or videotape the plays (older children).
  • To eliminate competition, you may wish to place the names of characters in a hat and have children choose their parts.
  • Be sure to explain the activity to the children and ask for questions to be sure you are clear.
  • Even though videotaping the activities may seem unnecessary, videotaping seems to encourage better behavior from the children.
  • Have fun and make this fun for the children!

Start on time!

Time Guidelines:

          Introductions/Opening Prayer:            10 minutes

          Bible Passage/Brief Discussion:          10 minutes

          Dramatic Presentation          20 minutes

          Which side is which?          10 minutes

          Reflection/Closing Prayer:          10 minutes

Welcome and Introductions:   Gather the children together in the chairs with their Bibles. Welcome the children and introduce yourself.  Always begin each class with introductions.  Remember that workshop leaders rotate often and the children may not know you.

Tell the children that today you will be learning about some of Jesus’ closest friends and about one time that he came to visit them.

Opening Prayer:  Pray something like this:  Dear God, Thank you for bringing us all here together.  We thank you for the stories in the Bible which teach us about you.  Help us to learn and understand more about you and your love for us.  In Jesus’ name, AMEN.

Bible Study:  Luke 10:38-42

Important Teacher Notes:

Each workshop begins with a Bible story. One of our primary goals is to improve the children’s Bible literacy!  If children do not bring their Bibles from home, use the classroom Bibles.  You should help the children locate the stories.  Use the background information to help you introduce the story.

Remember, that as the rotation progresses, the children will become more familiar with the story.  When this happens, allow the children to tell you what they know.  The children should still locate the story in their Bibles every week. Use the bold headings in their Bibles to guide your discussion.  You may want to review some of the Bible notes as well. Be sure to fill in any missing information and add additional details using the Background Information to help you.  One of the greatest advantages of this model is that children who come regularly learn the story in great depth.

Grades K-2:  Help the children find Luke 10:38-42 and you read as the children follow along in their Bibles.  Some of the older children may want to read.

Grades 3-5 : Have them locate and read Luke 10:38-42

Discussion Focus: Refer to the background information sheet in preparation for classroom discussion.

Discuss with children the importance of hospitality in the time of Jesus.  How is this like the hospitality Abraham and Sarah showed to their visitors in the Old Testament?

Hospitality:

Hospitality – To give someone a warm reception and make them feel welcome. Hospitality is an act of compassion and grace highly revered in the Bible.  True near-eastern hospitality included providing prompt attention to all the needs of guests including a lavish meal, and offering water to wash their feet.

Memory Verse:   Each rotation the children are asked to memorize one scripture verse.  Our goal is for the children to memorize one memory verse each rotation.  Locate and review the memory verse with them at this time.

“Be still and know that I am God.”  Psalm 46:10

Drama Activity:  Grades 3-5

A Tale of Two Sisters

Preparation:  

Make copies of the script.

Gather together props:  large wooden bowl, large pitcher, sleeping mats-(rattan mats are in right hand corner of supply room), baskets, pans, broom, etc. (most of these can be found in the Costume room)

Make signs for each character to hang around neck or tape to their shirt front.

Mary and Martha:  A Tale of Two Sisters

(adapted from Bible Zone, Abingdon Press, 1998)

Characters:

Mary

Martha

Lazarus

Jesus

Narrator (teacher should serve as this)

Narrator:  Once long ago in New Testament Bible times, in the small village of Bethany, there lived some very close friends of Jesus.

Jesus:  (waves) That’s me; I’m Jesus!  And here are my friends:  two sisters Mary (points to Mary)

Mary:   (waves)

Jesus:  …and her sister, Martha (points to Martha)

Martha:  (waves)

Jesus:  …and their brother Lazarus (points to Lazarus)

Lazarus:  (waves)

Narrator:  Well, it was time for the Feast of the Tabernacles, one of the great Jewish feasts and the sleepy little town of Bethany was crowded with visitors all heading to Jerusalem to celebrate.  Bethany is just outside of Jerusalem, you know, so it was a frequent stopping place for travelers heading to Jerusalem.  Jesus often stopped at the home of Lazarus, Mary and Martha when he was near Jerusalem.   Just like today…only this time it isn’t just Jesus who is coming, it was Jesus and a bunch of his disciples!

Lazarus:  Mary!  Martha!  Come quickly!  I’ve got good news!

Martha and Mary:  (Mary and Martha come to Lazarus) What??? What news?

Lazarus:  Jesus is coming to dinner!

Martha: Oh, my!  I better get busy!  Jesus is so special!  He deserves absolutely the very best of everything!  I’ll have to look through my recipes and find his very favorite foods… I wonder if he would like my new bread recipe and what about that baked fish and olives and cheese… and oh, my look at this house!  It’s a real mess!  We better get to work!  (Martha rushes off with a broom and dust cloth and grabs a spoon and bowl and starts furiously stirring)

Narrator:   It looks like Martha is going to be REALLY busy cooking and cleaning before Jesus gets here… I wonder what Mary is doing? (pause and let audience respond…)

Mary:  Oh, I am SOOOOOOO excited!  Jesus is coming!  He is so amazing!  I have never met anyone like him before.  I can’t wait to see him again and listen to his teaching… (sits down on edge of stage, dreamily staring into space)

Narrator:  And so the week passed… Martha was busy with preparations.  Mary was dreaming about Jesus coming to see them again!

Jesus: (Jesus knocks on the door) Hello!  It’s me, Jesus!   Anyone home???  Mary!  Martha!  Lazarus!  Where is everybody?

Mary:  Oh, Jesus!  Welcome!   I am so glad to see you.  Please come in.  Here let me take your cloak and your sandals.  Let me get you some water to wash your feet.  You must be tired from all that walking!  Here, come sit down.  This is our best seat.  Are you thirsty?  Let me get you some water.

(Jesus sits down on the edge of the stage and removes his sandals – drinks from the glass Mary gives him)

Martha:  (banging pots and pans, calling from behind the curtains) Hello Jesus!  I’m finishing up with supper.  I’ll be out there in a minute!

Jesus: Thank you Mary for your hospitality.  This cool water tastes so good and washing my hot, dusty feet feels great!

Mary:  You’re welcome, Jesus.  I am so glad you are here.  I have been looking forward to you coming all week!  (Mary sits down at Jesus’ feet)

Narrator:  So, Mary sat at Jesus’ feet and listened to him as he told stories and explained wonderful things about God.  And where do you think Martha was this whole time? (pause to let audience react)

You guessed it!  In the kitchen.  She was busy still cooking and cleaning the pots and pans and trying to finish the dinner.  And she was getting louder and louder about it, too!

Martha:  (banging pots and pans, grumbling loudly)  Where is that good-for-nothing sister of mine?  Who does she think she is?  Sitting at Jesus’ feet like that and leaving me to do all the work!  It’s not fair!  I can’t believe Jesus is just letting her do that!  He should make her come help me.

Narrator:  Uh, oh!  It sounds like Martha is really starting to get mad!  What do you think she is going to do?  (let audience react)

Martha:  (stomps out to where Jesus and Mary are sitting).  Jesus!  It’s not fair!  I am doing all the work and Mary is just sitting there!  Tell her to come help me!

Jesus:  (gently)  Martha, Martha.  You are worried about many things.  Mary has chosen to stop her busyness and listen to my teaching.  She has chosen the better part.

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Narrator:  Boy, Mary and Martha sure are different!  Can you believe they are sisters? Let’s find out a little more about them…

(Mary and Martha come to the front of the stage and stand back to back in front of the audience)

Mary’s turn:  (turns to face the audience) You have to understand what it is like to be Martha’s sister.  I love my sister, she is my sister after all, but sometimes she is a real pain!  She has always been this neat freak!  Even when we were little, her part of the room was always spotless!  She was always perfect – perfect hair, perfect clothes, perfect everything!  Everyone always loved her because she was just so perfect all the time.  Me, I’m just the opposite.  No matter how hard I try, I just can’t keep things clean – I’m just naturally messy and disorganized!  Keeping things clean just isn’t that big a deal to me.

But it sure is to Martha, so I wasn’t surprised that she spent the whole week cooking and cleaning before Jesus came.  I thought the house looked fine, but not for Martha!  It had to be PERFECT!   And she expected me to help her get it that way!  I really tried to help out, honest, I did…but Martha sees dirt that nobody else can see!  I think she has x-ray vision or something!   And besides, we live in Bethany!  Our houses are made of mud bricks.  Our floors are dirt!  You’re only going to get it so clean!   But not Martha!  She thinks we ought to be able to make it shine!

Martha’s turn: (Mary turns to the side and Martha turns to face the audience)  You have to understand what it is like to be Mary’s sister.  I love my sister, she is my sister after all, but sometimes she is a real pain!  Even when we were little, Mary was always doing different stuff.  She never cared what her room looked like, or if her chores were done.  She was always daydreaming and making up silly stories and songs.  Everyone thought she was so cute!  Nobody seemed to care that her room was a disaster area.  And who always ended up cleaning it up!  Me, of course!  While Mary was off writing poetry or some other nonsense, I had to do my chores and hers, too!  It’s so unfair!

So, when we heard Jesus was coming for a visit with all his disciples, I wasn’t a bit surprised that Mary was absolutely no help!  She spent the whole week walking around like some dreamy-eyed fool, leaving me to do all the work – as usual!  Even when I asked her to help me, she would get distracted and forget… I had to remind her over and over again.  You know sometimes it is just easier to do it myself!   Besides, I think there is something wrong with her eyes.  That girl can’t see dirt if it’s right there in front of her nose!  Even dirt floors can be swept clean.  And cobwebs can be dusted.  After all, Jesus is coming!  It’s not just anybody!  It’s Jesus!

Mary’s turn:  (Martha turns back to side and Mary faces audience)

Well, Martha fussed and fumed all week. She spent the entire week yelling at me and ordering me around.  She kept saying that I was daydreaming and trying to get out of working.  But that’s not true…I just was so excited that Jesus was coming again.  I kept remembering all the stories Jesus told.  He was the most amazing teacher!  When he told stories they came alive.  It was like he touched my heart and spirit like no one ever had before.   I guess I’m different from other Jewish women.  I would rather read, study and write, but Jewish girls don’t get to do that.  I guess I really should be more like Martha, but it just doesn’t come naturally to me. (sigh!)

Anyway, finally the day came!  Jesus was coming and I could hardly wait.  I woke up early and watched for him all morning long.  Martha was still at it.  She STILL  didn’t think we had enough food prepared or that the house was clean enough or whatever!  She kept sending me off to do things:  fetch more water, put more wood on the fire, bring me some more grapes, set the table, on and on and on.  All I wanted to do was wait by the door for Jesus.  I wanted to be the first one to see him coming up the street to our house!

Martha’s turn:  (Mary turns back to side and Martha faces audience)  Well, finally the day arrived.  I was exhausted!  I had cleaned and cooked and worked all week.  But there was still more to do!  And where was that Mary?  She’s standing at the door, letting flies in, waiting for Jesus!  I kept trying to tell her that if she would just stay busy, the time would pass quicker, but she wouldn’t listen to me.  What else is new?  Mary never listens to me!

Mary’s turn:  (Martha turns back to side and Mary faces audience)  Finally I saw him!  Jesus was here!   I was so excited!  I ran to greet him and showed him the kind of hospitality that is so important to our people.  I took his cloak, gave him water to drink and to wash his feet.  I showed him to the best seat in our house.  Martha was nowhere to be seen – I guess she was still cooking.  She didn’t even come out to say hello to Jesus.  We could hear her though!  She was banging and clanging those pots and pans!  It was so loud that I had to lean over really close to hear what Jesus was saying.  I didn’t want to miss a word he said.  Then Martha came stomping into the room.  She was really mad, I could tell by the way she looked!   She came over to Jesus and told him that he ought to make me help her with the cooking.   Jesus just took her hands in his and told her in a quiet, gentle voice that she was too worried about the meal…and those weren’t the most important things.

Martha’s turn:  (Mary turns back to side and Martha faces audience)

Finally, Jesus arrived!  At last, now maybe Mary would settle down and help me finish the meal!  After all, we’ve got all these people to feed – Jesus plus dozens of his disciples and followers!  But, did Mary finally come help me finish up?  No way!  She didn’t even look at me!  She just plopped herself down there right at Jesus’ feet, just like she was one of the men!  Who does she think she is anyway?  You know, I’d like to have time to sit down for a little bit too!  Mary can just sit there and give Jesus all her attention.  The only way I know to show Jesus I love him is to clean the house and cook a great meal for him.  I’ve got to be doing something.  It’s just not fair!  Mary should be helping me!  Finally I just couldn’t stand it anymore!  I had been working all week while that lazybones Mary goofed off!  I had had it!  So, I went over to Jesus and I told him that Mary should be helping me.  But Jesus didn’t tell Mary to come help me…instead he just told me to settle down.  He said I was too worried about all the cooking and cleaning.  He said Mary had chosen the better part.  What in the world does that mean?  Someone has to fix the food or nobody will be having dinner!

Mary’s turn:  (Martha turns back to side and Mary faces audience)

Later on, Jesus told me that I was really blessed to have a sister like Martha.  She really is a good housekeeper and she is the best cook in all of Bethany!  Everyone knows that!  Jesus always enjoys his visits here with us and I guess all Martha’s work is part of the reason.  I know Jesus really loves my sister Martha!

Martha’s turn: (Mary turns back to side and Martha faces audience)

Later on, Jesus told me that I was really blessed to have a sister like Mary.  She really is a special person.  She is so smart and wants to learn everything that Jesus is teaching.  I know Jesus really loves my sister Mary.

(Mary and Martha turn back to back again)

Narrator:  You know this story tells us some pretty important things about Jesus and the way we should live our lives as Christians.  Both sisters wanted to serve Jesus in their own way.  They both had gifts and talents given to them by God.  What Martha was doing was important – she was serving Jesus and his disciples by cooking and cleaning for them.  But Martha got so busy with her cooking and cleaning that she didn’t have time to spend any time with Jesus. Jesus wanted Martha to understand that the busy-ness of life must not keep her from the most important thing – which is to spend time with God.  These two things:  spending time with God and serving others are the most important things for Christians to do.  Jesus wanted Martha to keep those two things in balance.  He wants us to keep them balanced, too.

The End!  (All actors take a bow!)

Discussion:

God gives each of us special gifts or talents which he wants us to use to serve others.  What is a talent?  (something that we are naturally good at, that we like to do)

Mary and Martha were different and had special gifts.  What do you think Mary’s gifts and talents were? (she was a good student, liked to learn, liked to dream up ideas)

What about Martha?  (she was practical, neat and organized, a hard worker)

How did Mary use her talents?  (she listened to Jesus, learned, showed him hospitality)

How about Martha?  (she prepared the house, cooked for him)

Do you think one talent is more important than the other?  (no, they are both important)

What are the two things Jesus taught us we should do?  (spend time with God and serve others)

Why do you think Jesus told Martha to not worry and to settle down?  (she was overdoing it – she had gotten it out of balance, she was ignoring spending time with God and just focusing on serving)

How do you think Martha felt when Jesus told her she was worrying too much?

What do you think Martha did after Jesus spoke to her?

(Later on, after Lazarus’ death, we hear of Martha’s great faith – in this story she is the one who runs to greet Jesus when he arrives -- so we know that she must have taken Jesus’ words to heart… you can explore this with the children if the discussion heads in that direction)

What are ways you spend time with God?

What are ways you serve others?

Which is easier for you to do?

Drama Activity Grades K-2

A Tale of Two Sisters

(Two Sisters by Sharilyn S. Adair, BibleZone #3 – Younger Elementary, Abingdon Press, 1998)

We used the same play as above for this activity.  The children act out the various actions of Martha as she busies herself getting ready for Jesus’ visit, such as sweeping, dusting, washing, cooking, stirring, etc.  We added some extra actions to the story.  Listed below are the actions we added to the story.  We also used rhythm instruments to help create some of the sound effects.

Grinding grain:  Make a fist with one hand and pound it into your other hand.

Sound effect:  Crunch, crunch, crunch

Picking fruit:  Hold one arm in a circle in front of you as if you are holding a basket.  With your other arm, reach up as if you are picking fruit, then pretend to drop it in the basket.

Sound effect:  Plop, plop, plop

Filling water jugs:  Bend over and pretend to be scooping water out of a well and pouring it into a jug that you are holding with your other hand.

Sound effect:  Splash, splash, splash

Martha went and got more water for the water jugs (splash, splash, splash)  Then she decided she might need even more so she filled another jug (splash, splash, splash)  On the way back to her home, she stopped in the garden and picked three baskets of fruit for the meal (plop, plop, plop…plop, plop, plop…plop, plop, plop)

Discussion:

What were some of the things Martha was so busy doing?

What was Mary doing while Martha was busy working?

Why do you think Martha was doing all those things (because she wanted everything to be perfect for when Jesus came, because she loved Jesus)

How do you think Martha felt when Jesus told her to not be so busy and to sit down?  (embarrassed,  upset, sorry)

Say:  Jesus teaches us that there are two things we should do as Christians – first we must spend time with God.  Second we must do things to serve others.

Say:  Jesus was concerned about Martha because she had these two things out of balance.  Martha was so busy serving others that she wasn’t spending any time with God.  She needed to keep them in balance; she needed to do both things, not just all one thing!

What are ways you can spend time with God?

What are ways you can serve others?

Additional activity if there is time:

Keeping the Balance!

Preparations:

Make two signs:  “Spend time with God” and “Serve Others”

Tape the signs up in opposite sides of the room.

Move the chairs to the edges of the room to make a large clear area in the center of the room.

Say:  We’re going to play a game that will help us see how to keep these two most important things in balance:  spending time with God and serving others.  The shepherd will keep track of the number of activities we have in each category.  Can we keep our lives in balance?  Let’s see.

Say:  I will call out different activities.  You must decide whether it is a way to spend time with God or a way to serve others.  Then everyone must run to the correct sign.

Call out the first activity from the list below.

Ask:  Is this a way to serve others or a way to spend time with God?

Have children run to the correct sign.

Have children return to middle of room.

Repeat with the next activity on the list, alternating between both columns.

Continue until all the activities have been used or you run out of time.

Count the activities and decide if you were in balance or not.

Option:  Let the children contribute activities.

Note:  some of the activities might actually fit in both categories.  Allow time for discussion and opinions about where the activities fit.

Activities list:

Spend time with God:          Serve Others:

Attend church.           Help with a mission project

Come to Sunday School        

Read a story out of your Bible each day           Make cookies for new                     neighbors

Pray before meals           Make a get-well card for your sick t                    teacher

Pray each morning before you go to school           Clean up your room without                     being told

Pray before you go to bed each night          Help your mom set the table

Memorize your Bible verse           Do your brother’s chores for                     him

Learn to say the Lord’s Prayer by heart           Rake the leaves in your                     neighbor’s yard

Come to Wednesday night BLAST          Empty the dishwasher for your                     mom

                    Clean your room without being told

Ask God to help you with a problem          Take out the trash

Bring a friend to church with you           Weed the flower beds in your                     yard

Write in your prayer journal each week           Walk your neighbor’s                     dog

Talk to God about things that are bothering you          Give your outgrown                     clothes away

Thank God for things in your life that are good          Give some of your                     allowance to help others

Ask God to help you get closer to Him                   Help babysit the younger                    children at church

Discussion:

Discuss the following questions with the children:

Were we balanced?

Which of these activities are you more likely to do?

Are you more like Mary, wanting to spend most of your time with God?

Or are you more like Martha, wanting to be busy serving others?

Remember, it is important to keep the balance between both of these things because both are important to being a good Christian.

Reflection and Journal Time:  Reflection/Journals: The last 10 minutes should be reserved for Journal and Reflection time. This is an opportunity for processing and reflection about what the children have learned.  Pass out the journals and pencils/pens and the journal sticker for the day-put date in journal.  Workshop leaders should sit down with children in small groups to facilitate discussion and writing in Faith Journals.  Memory verse stickers are also included for each lesson, give one to each child to take home. Children may also copy the memory verse and illustrate.

Journal Questions:

Grades K-2:  Draw a picture of Jesus coming to visit Mary and Martha.  Who sat by Jesus’ feet?

Grades 3-5:  Christians should balance two things in their lives:  spending time with God and serving others.  How do you spend time with God?  How do you serve others

Closing Prayer: Encourage the children to come back next week and bring their Bibles.  Remind them to share the love of Jesus with others by bringing a friend to Sunday school, especially a friend who doesn’t have a church.  Ask for prayer requests and pray together.  You may ask one of the children to say the closing prayer, or you may pray something like this, Dear Lord, you have given us a lot to think about today.  We ask you to help us as we learn to balance spending time with you and serving others.  Help us to be the people you know we can be.  In Jesus’ name,   Amen.

Clean up:  Encourage the children to take responsibility for putting away costumes, props, and other supplies to help keep our rooms neat and orderly.

After your rotation is completed, please:

  1. Remember to return all supplies to the proper storage areas in the classroom or the kitchen. Please help us keep our rooms neat!
  2. Return un-used journal questions and lesson materials (you may leave them in the classroom).
  3. Thanks for being part of our Journey to the Holy Land!
  4. Let us know if you would like to teach again!
  5. Please turn in any receipts to the church office.

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Last edited by Luanne Payne

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