Youth ministry programs
Here's a recently written skit to be used at our upcoming Easter dawn service.

When You Pray

(Ranget, a Babylonian businessman, is visiting Jerusalem to meet with a new acquaintance, Joshua, an owner of a prosperous grain warehouse a few miles outside of Jerusalem. Joshua is a secret follower of Jesus Christ)

Ranget: It is good to meet you, my friend.

Joshua: And it is good to meet you, Ranget. Is this the first time you have visited Jerusalem?

Ranget: Yes, it is. You have a marvelous city and I trust this will be the first of many business ventures with you.

Joshua: I trust it will be. What is the price you are willing to pay for our grains?

Ranget: Before we discuss business I must ask you a question.

Joshua: Certainly.

Christian youth tell the story of Easter at Easter Dawn service ... at Fire Island Beach

Ranget: I see so many people out on the streets and it is mid afternoon. Is today a holiday?

Joshua: No, my friend, today is not a holiday. It is crucifixion day. Look ... over that building at the top of the hill. See the three crosses. They were crucified about three hours ago but crucifixion is a slow, painful death. The crowds have been wandering from the center of the city up and down the hill all afternoon.

Ranget: These are criminals being crucified, I assume. What did they do?

Joshua; Two were clearly criminals but a third, called Jesus of Nazareth ... well, no one is clear why the Romans decided to crucify him. Some think the leaders of the synagogue were behind this - Jesus often spoke out about their leadership ... how it was more show than substance.

Ranget: Did you say Jesus? I have heard of him even in our country... in fact, about 30 or so years ago, my uncle, one of the most important men in our country, was on a trip to Jerusalem. On the first night of their journey, an unexpected star appeared in the western sky. He and his companions decided it was an omen ... so they followed it. It didn't lead them to Jerusalem but to a town nearby. I don't remember its name.

When they arrived they found a baby with his mother and father, living humbly. So my uncle and his friends left some gifts - to assist the mother and father and the baby, of course. My uncle inquired of the baby's birth date and found it to be the same as the birthdate of one of his nephews, myself.

When I was ten, he told me the story of a special child that shared my birthdate and I think he told me his name was Jesus. How old is the man who is being crucified?

Joshua: I am not sure. I have heard him speak and some in the crowd said he was a little more than 30 years old.

Ranget: A little more than thirty ? I will be thirty-three next week... I wonder?

Joshua: That is really interesting, Ranget. I certainly would wonder. Your uncle saw a special baby and Jesus grew up to be a very special prophet. Some people believe he is the Son of God. But would God allow His son to die? One thing I can say for sure - his message makes a lot of sense and the miracles he did were real. I observed him give a blind man sight. What happened to your uncle after he visited the baby?

Ranget: That night he and his companions returned to their quarters. They were preparing to visit Jerusalem but he had a dream. A man appeared in his dream and told him to bypass Jerusalem on his journey back home. This is what he and his companions did. He never saw the baby again. But he never forgot the star and the family it led to. Perhaps we can talk more tomorrow but we need to get back to business. We are prepared to make a generous offer for your grains but first, I must see the storehouse where they are kept.

Joshua: Absolutely. I am more than happy to take you to the warehouse. However, it will take a couple of hours to reach it as it is out of town. Sunset and our Sabbath is soon approaching. Can we meet again on Sunday, after our Sabbath day to make this visit?

Ranget: Certainly I can, Joshua. It has been a pleasure meeting you.

(Person with sign that says "Sunday morning")

Ranget: Joshua, how were your Sabbath observances?

Joshua: Very nice and how was your day yesterday?

Ranget: I had a good day. One of the workers from the inn that I was staying at took me around the city and showed me the sites. Your temple is truly impressive. He also took me up the hill to where the three prisoners were crucified on Friday. They were not there, of course, but, even without them, it is such a dreary place. The crosses were still standing and I felt sad as I stood there. What a horrible way to die and the Jesus person, our guide said, he had done nothing wrong to deserve this punishment.

Joshua: May I tell you something in confidence.

Ranget: Certainly, my friend.

Joshua: This Jesus person. He has a close follower named Matthew, who I used to work for when he was a tax collector. Matthew introduced me to Jesus, who I found to be a wise, loving man. He could even be really funny - most people don't know that. We are all heart-broken over his crucifixion. He really was becoming persuasive with the people. I don't know what will happen to all his followers now that he is dead. Someone or something will be needed to encourage them to continue to share his message. We need the optimism of youth to step forward and take his place.

Ranget:I agree that the best formula to continue Jesus' teachings is for his youthful followers to speak up and be unafraid to tell the story of Jesus, of love, of praising God and of helping the poor. Young people's enthusiasm is always contagious. And thank you for sharing these things with me. I am really interested to learn more of what Jesus taught and I will keep what you have shared in confidence. Now I must tell you my story - not only of my shared birthdate with Jesus but of a dream I had last night.

Joshua: What was your dream?

Ranget: I dreamed I was walking across a desert. I was walking with a crowd of people, some young, some old. No one was talking; no one even looked at each other. We all simply walked forward. Then a voice was heard - I'm not sure from where. It said "when you pray, you give energy to the world". Whoever was speaking repeated the statement, "when you pray, you give energy to the world" ... then silence ... we heard nothing more. About half of the people, including myself, dropped to our knees in prayer. These were mostly the younger people. The older ones kept walking forward toward the horizon.

Joshua: What a strange dream ... and you remember it so vividly.

Ranget: Yes, I do. I can still visualize those people of all ages walking in a group yet, when the voice was heard, it was the younger people who stopped to pray.

Joshua:The young people stopped to pray. That's what we were saying about the need for young people to step forward when times are challenging. And what do you think the statement means about prayer being ... what was it? Something about prayer and energy.

Ranget: Every time we pray we give energy to the world? I guess it means that God is still around, alive and able to energize the world even with Jesus being dead. But God only acts when we pray and ask him to act. That is what I think the statement means.

Joshua: Taking time to pray is certainly a necessity today. I am learning to pray and I feel inner strength after my prayer time. But I lose that feeling of strength so quickly.

Young Lady (appears): He is Risen from the dead. Jesus is alive.

Ranget: What? What do you mean by this ... he is alive?

Young Lady: I was there; the tomb is empty. I saw it myself. And then he spoke to me. I thought he was the gardener but he was not. He was Jesus. He is alive. Jesus is alive.

Joshua: Thank you Mary, for the news ... good news, indeed.

Ranget: How ... how did this happen?

Joshua: We heard that Jesus brought a man named Lazarus back from the dead ... and Lazarus had been dead for four days. So we must believe that God could bring Jesus back from the dead.

Ranget: (slowly, contemplating) When we pray, we give energy to the world ... Yes, after we prayed this young lady appeared. And we did say that young people's enthusiasm is always contagious ... We must continue to make time to pray that God will provide energy to those, young and old, who will bravely follow Jesus in his mission. It is wonderful news. Jesus lives. Jesus lives...( lengthy pause)

And I am beginning to think that every time someone from my country comes to yours, that they are assured of having a strange and memorable dream.

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Do you like this skit? There are many more in a book of activities for Christian youth leaders ...
click: Not the Same Old, Done-it-before Youth Meeting (the book)

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