Crown of Glory:Crown of Thorns (Christian dialogue for Palm Sunday)

one palm

Crown of Glory; Crown of Thorns
Dialogue for Palm Sunday
© 2013 Mollie Pearce McKibbon

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Dialogue One: Crown of Glory

Dinah and Shem are a brother and sister in the crowd when Jesus
rode into Jerusalem on a donkey in the beginning of Passover week. Dinah is peering around Shem trying to see Jesus.

Dinah: Shem, do you see him? Has he come through the gate?

Shem: Not yet,Dinah. I can see palms waving though.

Dinah: I wish I were as tall as you are Shem, then I could see over the shoulders. Did you ever see such a crowd?

Shem: Excuse me, excuse me. Come on, Dinah. You stand right here in front. Now you will see too. I’m right here behind you.

Dinah: Thank you, Shem. You are a good brother. Oh Shem, I think I see Simon Peter. And isn’t that Judas and there’s Thomas laying his coat down on the road.

Shem: Yes, and look, behind them is the Master. He’s riding on a donkey! I wonder why he isn’t on a horse. A donkey isn’t a proper mount for a leader.

Dinah: Wasn’t there something in the scriptures about a king coming on a donkey? Oh, look at the crowd of followers. They are singing and shouting, Shem.

Shem: They are shouting “Hosanna in the highest”. Hosanna! Hosanna!

Dinah: Hosanna! Hosanna! Hosanna in the highest!

Shem: Hey, don’t shove. My sister is here. What happened to manners?

Dinah: Shem, it’s all right. It’s the temple leaders. Look, they’ve stopped the procession.

Shem: Now what? More trouble? Why do they always have to horn in?

Dinah: Shh! Shem, be careful what you say.

Shem: Well, it’s true, Dinah. Every time the Master tries to teach, those characters are always hanging around, always trying to cause some kind of trouble for Jesus. Can you hear what they are saying?

Dinah: I think they want the Master to quiet the crowd. It’s hard to tell for all the noise, but they keep gesturing at the palms and people. One of the Scribes is telling those people to go home, I think.

Shem: I don’t think he will be successful. We have been waiting for this day a long time. Now the Romans will sit up and take notice. They can’t push us around any more.

Dinah: Shem, you’ve got to be careful. I don’t think the Master wants to start a rebellion. He’s a healer.

Shem:Dinah, he is much more than that. He can raise people from the dead! Remember what I told you about what Saul said happened at Bethany? Don’t you think that the temple leaders will want that hushed up? Look, the Pharisees are backing off. The crowd is getting even larger.

Dinah: Oh, Shem, do you think the centurions will come? Will they try to arrest Jesus?

Shem: Just let them try! Just let them try and they will have to face the whole of Jerusalem! We’ve just been waiting for an excuse and a true Messiah to lead the way.

Dinah: Shem, you frighten me when you talk like that. The Master has never spoken about rebellion. Never have I heard anything but kindness from his mouth.

Shem: He can hold his own against the temple crowd,Dinah. He sees through their tactics, always so cooperative with the Prefects that come from Rome.

Dinah: It’s over now, Shem. We’d better go home.

Shem: This is only the beginning,Dinah. Mark my words.  Things will be different from now on.

crown of thorns #2

Dialogue Two: Crown of Thorns

Shem and Dinah have been caught up and separated in the crowd watching Jesus make his torturous way to the hill of Golgotha.

Dinah: Shem! Shem! Oh Shem, I thought I would never find you!

Shem: I thought you were going to go home,Dinah. I was hoping that you hadn’t seen what happened.

Dinah: I couldn’t go home. I just had to know what was going to happen to the Master.

Shem: Did you see it all,Dinah? It was awful.

Dinah: When Saul told us he’d been betrayed and arrested, I couldn’t believe it. Not after what happened when he entered Jerusalem. How could his friend, his disciple turn on him, Shem?

Shem: Why did the Master let it happen? That’s what I can’t understand. A man of so many miracles and yet he stood there meekly, letting the Roman guard push him around, spit on him, call him names and not a word, Dinah, not a word.

Dinah: But what has happened to his followers? Where did they go? Why didn’t they protect Jesus?

Shem: I don’t know. I don’t understand any of this. We had such hopes, such dreams to be free of this domination.

Dinah: But Brother, the Romans rule the whole world. How can we change that?

Shem: We couldn’t , not by ourselves, but with Jesus leading us, so much would have been possible. And now, it seems, he is just like all the other “messiahs”, a big disappointment.
Dinah: Shem, you can’t mean that. The Master has done so much, taught us so much. He never spoke of revolution… he never talked about changing governments…he talked about us changing, about heaven and God.

Shem: Well, the Sanhedrin certainly made short work of his trial…what a sham that was. Saul was there and he saw the Master’s disciple John there and he thought he saw Simon Peter, but no one spoke up for Jesus, except for the priest, Nicodemus.

Dinah: Did he? He was very brave to do that, Shem.

Shem: Well, too little too late, I’d say. Saul said they soon shut Nicodemus up.

Dinah: Was that when they took Jesus to Pilate? The first time, I mean.
Were you there then?

Shem: Yes, I was. I’m glad you weren’t.

Dinah: Oh, I was there, just not close enough to see anything. I couldn’t hear anything either…too much shouting.

Shem: The soldiers had dressed him in a cloak and put a crown of thorns on his head, I could see the blood trickling down his face. They sent him over to that snake, Herod.

Dinah: Oh brother, you must tether your tongue. It worries me about how outspoken you are. Herod has as many spies as Pilate.

Shem: Yes, my tongue causes trouble all right. I could rip it out right now. I am so ashamed, Dinah.

Dinah: Why, whatever have you said? Are you in trouble?

Shem: No, I’m not in trouble. I am a coward though, after all my brave talk.

Dinah: I’m not very brave, either, Shem. I have discovered this day how very feeble my spine is. All it took was some big centurion near me and when Jesus was brought back in front of Pilate and he offered the crowd the chance to have that horrible murderer freed or Jesus freed, I started to yell for Jesus but, then when everyone glared at me, I yelled for Barabas. I still can’t understand why.

Shem: And when Pilate said he could find no reason to punish Jesus, and the crowd yelled “crucify him” so did I. There was no centurion near me, Dinah. I was just afraid the rabble would turn on me. Why did I do it? Jesus has never done anything to me, except kindness.

Dinah: Oh Shem, we have much to be forgiven. Did you see how he stumbled under the weight of the cross? I shall never forget this day. I feel so awful, so awful. Let’s go home. I want to pray.

Shem: Yes, we’ll go home. I won’t sleep tonight for nightmares. What a terrible, terrible day!

The Beginning, Not the End.

We presented this dialogue instead of a sermon on Palm Sunday. We followed this presentation with a prayer of confession and the assurance of pardon. Then we sang a final hymn.

(Please contact me through this blog for permission to use this dialogue.)

The Sandals

6907easter_lily_crossI wrote this poem 13 years ago (how time does fly) and now I see so many things wrong with it, but I still like the story, so here it is.

The Sandals 

©2000 Mollie Pearce McKibbon

 

I was busy at work on my bench one day,

My leather and tools all around me lay,

When a weathered centurion ventured in

With a pair of sandals, shabby and thin.

 

“Repair these, cobbler, you have one day”

When I disagreed, he said he would pay

A week’s soldier’s wages if he could be sure

That they would be ready in one day, not more.

I nodded my head; it was too much to pass,

Everything else I would take off my last.

He sighed in relief and left in a hurry.

I shrugged as I pondered his manner so surly.

 

What possible use would he have for such shoes,

Ragged and scuffed from miles of abuse?

I considered their obvious poverty state-

Nothing a Roman would value; third rate.

A week’s soldier’s wages was a very high cost

For something most likely a servant had lost.

 

It was late and the shadows were filling my shop.

I had promised my wife, before dinner I’d stop.

As I placed the sandals above on a shelf,

Something inside me prevented myself.

I wrapped up the sandals, unmended and worn,

And carried them home with me until morn.

I laid them carefully by my bed for the night

And slept without stirring, no dreams of great fright.

 

When I woke, my wife asked me why I was giving such care,

To something only a beggar would wear.

I couldn’t explain it and she shook her head,

“They’re not made of gold or silver,” she said.

“They’re worth a soldier’s salary here in my hand”.

Money was something that she’d understand.

But her face turned pale and she recited a verse

From the Torah, and shivered,”Perhaps they are cursed.”

 

“Such shouting we heard in the street yesterday,”

Remember how Romans make everyone pay.

Oh Husband, dear Husband, take care what you do.

Your good reputation may depend on those shoes.”

In spite of her fears, I wrapped them up tight,

And carried them back to my shop at first light.

 

I recovered the soles and strengthened each thong.

As I worked on the leather, my heart filled with song.

If a week’s wages purchased my cobbler’s good name,

What more could I garner, what more could I gain?

When the centurion returned, his wages in hand,

I wouldn’t accept the price that he planned.

He paused and considered, a moment not more,

Then turned on his heels and went out the door.

All day I was angry at my foolish thought;

The sandals were mended, but what had I got?

 

That evening the soldier returned once again,

His gaze it appraised me and he grasped my hand.

He said in a whisper, with tears on his face,

“I have no more money, no way to erase

The pain that I caused an innocent man,

On Friday I hammered the spikes in his hand,

And as He hung there, high on the cross,

I won these sandals with dice that we tossed.

I haven’t slept since that horrible day,

Yet, somehow, I just couldn’t throw them away.

 

As he urgently spoke of his horror and grief,

I remembered the look on the face of a thief

Who passed by my open shop door on the way

To his execution, to die that same day.

I recalled this same soldier was part  of the mob

That marched in the legion in charge of the job.

He paused and I muttered, “No blood money, please,

I saw what you did when He fell to his knees.

I saw His raw back and the blood running down

From the thorns on His head they’d made into a crown.

No money you’d pay me would ever reverse,

My greed and your torture; we both will be cursed.”

 

The soldier, a veteran, as his grave scars attested,

With a sob in his voice, earnestly protested.

“Yes, we’re both sinners, that can’t be denied.

I witnessed his agony and watched while He died.

No amount you demand, nor could I afford,

Would pay for the sandals worn by my Lord,

But Cobbler, I tell you, we both are forgiven,

These sandals are needed because He has risen!”