Books

Useful Bits & Pieces 2

Lots more readings, dialogues and stories for use in worship, presentations or for reflection.

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An extract from the book

Many of the dialogues and monologues in this book can be presented simply as readings, read from the script  
 
Title Page  
Manger Town 13  
Christmas and commercialism  
The Christmas Shop 15  
Christmas priorities  
Two Wardrobes 17  
A reading based on Colossians 3 v 12  
The Map 18  
Jesus being the Way - John 14 v 6  
Becoming Flesh (1, 2 & 3) 21  
Jesus’s reflections as he grows in the womb  
Dreaming of You 30  
God has us in mind  
The Musician 32  
An interview with King David about his life  
Sacrifice 37  
The meaning of Jesus’s sacrifice  
Extraordinary Circumstances 39  
Barabbas arriving in heaven  
Different 43  
Abraham, Isaac and the near-miss sacrifice  
Clean 45  
Weakness and mistakes  
Getting It Wrong Again 47  
Peter’s mistakes as he followed Jesus  
A Couple of Coins 49  
The widow’s offering - Luke 24 vv 1-4  
Distractions 51  
Jesus’s disciples get distracted  
54 54  
What if Jesus had chosen another way?  
Limping Home 58  
The prodigal’s father sells some land for his son  
Three Days 60  
Jesus reflects on his way to his baptism  
The Humble God 62  
Jesus visits the temple and no one notices  
The Meeting 64  
Death and resurrection  
Disciple 66  
Judas sees a fresh start for himself  
Taxman (Desperation Point) 68  
Tax man Zacchaeus is in a bad place  
Failure, Fire and Forgiveness 71  
Peter gets forgiveness and a fresh start  
Struggle and Hope 73  
A man in need draws on the Psalms  
Glimpses 75  
Moses asks to see God. Exodus 33 vv 12-23  
The Clay and the Potter 77  
A reflection on Jeremiah 18 vv 1-4  
Searching and Finding 79  
Revisiting Luke 15 vv 1-10 – the God who searches  
The Corridors 81  
Living in the ‘now’ and the ‘not yet’  
Fools Rush In 83  
Revisiting two rich fools  
A Tale of Two Wells 85  
Based loosely on Jeremiah 2 v 13  
Polling Time 88  
Mary and Joseph, on their way to Bethlehem  
Your Call (Them Bones) 91  
Ezekiel in the valley of bones, Ezekiel 37  
The Vision 93  
John’s epic vision of Jesus - Revelation 1 vv 10-18.  
Going Viral 95  
The start of the church - Isaiah 56 vv 1-8, Acts 2 vv 1-12  
Quiet Time 96  
Elijah and the still small voice - 1 Kings 19 vv 1-15  
The Tower Falls 98  
The tower of Babel - Genesis 11  
A Thousand Armies 99  
Trusting in God’s power - Ezra 8 vv 21- 23  
The Breathing Boy and the Smiling Girl 100  
Jairus’s daughter - 1 Kings 17 vv 8-24, Luke 8 vv 49-56  
The Snake Drops By 101  
The fall revisited - Genesis 3  
Walking the Garden 103  
The fall revisited, again - Genesis 3  
The Dark Tree 105  
The fall and the new start  
A Tale of Two Fathers 107  
A mime for a group of two - eight people and one narrator  
Ravens, Doves, Eagles 109  
A poem drawing on various biblical birds  
Going Down in History 112  
Three disciples wonder how they will be remembered  
Aftermath 114  
The street to Jerusalem, the day after Palm Sunday  
Bread and Wine 116  
The wonder of breaking bread together  
In Disguise 118  
The Emmaus Road journey  
A Sticky End 120  
A story imagining if litter had disastrous repercussions  
The Cost 122  
Zebedee pays the price for his son’s discipleship  
Trouble in the Royal Court 125  
Chuza talks to Herod about his wife and her new rabbi  
Peter’s Favourite Bible Readings 128  
Peter reads extracts from his rollercoaster time with Jesus  
Neville and Toad 131  
A parable about the Trinity and the church’s differences  
Psalm 100 134  
Fleshing out this psalm  
Possibilities 135  
Two perspectives on attempting to feed 5000 in John 6  
What’s the Point? 136  
A TV debate about the heart of Christianity  
Any Way You Can 138  
The mission of Jesus  
Jesus Commissions the Twelve 140  
A dramatic reading about Jesus sending out his friends  
Feeding 5000 145  
A drama about this miracle  
The Man 149  
A sketch about Jesus featuring a narrator and group  
Ghosts 152  
Easter Sunday morning  
Imagine 154  
A retelling of creation and redemption  
Father, Forgive Them 157  
Jesus’s words of forgiveness from the cross  
Russian Dolls 158  
A reading about the need we feel to put on masks  
Advent Creed 159  
A creed about the God who patiently waits  
Nine Nails 161  
Peter’s prison break - Acts 12 vv 6-19, Luke 23 vv 39-43  
Fish 163  
Seven fishermen meet Jesus again. Luke 24 vv 36-48  
The Farewell 165  
The ascension of Jesus  
Q&A 170  
Based on the sayings of Jesus in Matthew 10:24-39  
The Biggest Message 172  
Disciple Andrew wonders if Jesus has gone too far  
Looking Up 175  
Jesus returns to heaven. Inspired by Acts 1 vv 6-14.  
The Homecoming 178  
Jesus arrives back in heaven  
The Diner 180  
A reading about the disciples after Jesus’s arrest  
Alternate Reality 186  
Judas’s take on Good Friday. Isaiah 55 vv 8-9  
The Domestic 190  
The road to Emmaus revisited. Based on Luke 24 v 13  
When Wishes Were Horses 193  
Adam and Eve, distractions and Jesus  
Biscuits and Memories 196  
Job tells his story  
 
- - - - - - - - - -  
 
Manger Town  
 
A reporter tells of the possible discovery of a bit of the Christmas manger.  
 
News presenter: ‘We go over live now to Colin Cribbage at the site of the discovery.’  
 
Reporter: ‘Thank you Kirsty, yes I’m here at what might well be the discovery of the century. Behind me is the dig where, for the last three months, teams of archaeologists have been scraping and brushing and dusting away to unearth what might possibly be the remnants of the Christmas manger, the animal trough where the baby Jesus first slept when he was born. Somehow strangely preserved. Most folk thought there would be nothing left to find, but amazingly there is a frame, still intact, and bits of a first-century mobile toy, that must have been suspended somehow above the manger. Fragments of a jar that may have held some myrrh have also been unearthed, though some think it may actually have contained first- century chutney.  
 
Toy models of the manger are already in the pipeline, Toys-R-Us, Halfords, Superdrug, Tesco, Harrods and most cathedral shops will have them on the shelves in time for Christmas. The Great British Bake Off winner is working on an edible version, hopefully without a tough crust or soggy bottom, and a team are due on Dragons’ Den with a proposal to set up a spin-off global merchandising business. Disney/Pixar are working on a movie version, Finding Jesus, and we’re assured they have plans for a stage musical next year.  
 
What does this mean for the rest of us? Well, Brian Air are offering cheap flights linked with a site-by-site Chigley Tour for next spring. Free tickets are available for a few lucky Lottery winners who have four numbers or more on each week’s lottery draw up to Christmas. You’ll be able to stand here and see for yourself what I’m looking at right now, a few bits of wood from the first century. You’ll be able to take a selfie with the manger, whilst munching some local Kentucky Fried Turkey and looking forward to a night out at the newly developed string of casinos and festive theme parks. I’m told that Manger Town has already been granted planning permission. There was a young couple with a new baby in temporary residence on the site but I’m assured they’ll find somewhere else to stay. They say this is the one place on earth where it really will be Christmas every day. Back to you Kirsty.’  
 
- - - - - - - -  
 
The Christmas Shop  
 
A reading reflecting on the child at the heart of Christmas.  
 
Christmas Eve. A couple walk the aisles of a supermarket gathering up the food and frills for a cracking Christmas. Early on in their travels they spot the Christmas baby and scoop that into the trolley. Of course they must have the Christmas baby, what is Christmas about after all? Other things get added. Crackers, decorations, cake, mince pies, mulled wine, turkey, stuffing, sprouts ('Really? You really want the sprouts? You know what they do to you…’)  
 
Little by little the trolley fills up and it’s clear there’s going to be a problem. It’s not big enough. They um and ah for a while, shift a few things around (‘Don’t squash the Yule Log!’) and then the solution becomes clear. Put the baby to one side and pick it up later. Of course. No problem. Why didn’t we think of that earlier? Returning it to the shelf makes just enough room for one of those embarrassing Christmas jumpers, a large box of Quality Street and a few bits of extra tinsel. Perfect. On into the queue (‘I don’t think we’ll risk the twelve items or less till, darling…’) then it’s wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait… (‘We’re going to miss the repeat of the 1974 Morecambe and Wise Christmas Show…’) wait, wait, wait... then a jolly festive chat to the checkout woman in the flashing Santa hat, load up the bags, wheel them to the car in the trolley and off. Christmas sorted.  
 
Meanwhile, at the end of the day the shelves are cleared. Some of the stock is passed on to the food banks. Other bits are just placed out back with the bins. And later that night, as Christmas Eve is dying under the glimmering stars, and the sound of parties and tellies echoes from street to street, a couple of folks of indeterminate age wander past the supermarket skips and hear a noise. They stop and come closer. There it is. The Christmas baby. They scoop it up, pull off one of their coats though the night is cold, and wrap it around the tiny child. They scuttle to an all-night drop-in, where a few prostitutes and homeless folks are getting festive soup and coffee. There they nurse the child and tell the story of the Christmas baby. And the few stragglers kneel, coo and wonder.  
 
- - - - - - -  
 
Two Wardrobes  
 
A reading based on Colossians 3 v 12.  
 
As God's chosen ones, holy and beloved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, meekness and patience.  
It’s like having two wardrobes.  
One holds the costumes of lies, deceit, self-destruction, slander, rage and malice. Ease open the doors of the other one and you might well find the socks of patience, the shirts of mercy, the jeans of kindness, the shoes of gentleness and the underwear of humility.  
It’s a tough decision we face each day. How to dress, how to put on the outfit of hope, the garments of compassion. So tempting to follow the trends, the costumes presented in the media.  
The dress sense that might well lead us away from God’s full humanity.  
Clothing ourselves at a cost. Wearing what does not come cheap. There is good news though.  
If we chose unwisely yesterday, then we may start again.  
Open that wardrobe this morning, and begin anew.  
As God's chosen ones, holy and beloved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, meekness and patience.  
Decisions, decisions.  
 
- - - - - - -  
 
The Map  
 
A little conversation at supper between Jesus and a few flawed saints.  
 
‘No we don’t.’  
Thomas looks at him, straightening himself a little as he speaks, his eyes on fire. No one else has spoken up and that fuels his frustration.  
‘No we don’t,’ Thomas says again, ‘we don’t. You say we know where you’re going, but we have no idea!’  
He glances around at the other faces, some staring into space, giving nothing away, others clearly annoyed at his outburst.  
‘This lot may not be admitting it,’ he goes on, ‘but it’s confusing. What are you talking about?’  
As Jesus studies his face, the rings beneath his eyes, the flush in his cheeks, he can’t help but travel back in time.  
‘We’ll stick with you,’ the dour Tom had claimed, not so long ago. ‘We’ll even die! If you have to die, we have to die! We’re not afraid.’ As the rising shadow of danger loomed Tom had done what he always did. Spoken his mind.  
‘How can we know where to go, when you won’t tell us where you’re going?’ he hisses now, tearing a bit of bread from his fist with his teeth.  
‘I’m the way, Thomas.’  
‘You?’  
‘Yes, I’m the map, I’m the road. I’m the way to follow. I’m the journey and the destination. No one finds the way to the Father except via me.’  
‘I’m glad you brought that up,’ says Philip, his forehead creased and furrowed. ‘Show us him now. Show us the Father.’  
Philip, the ever practical one. Always wanting to do something. Jesus can see him now in those early days, running for his friend, dragging Nathanael to meet him, like he was a reluctant dog.  
‘How much would it cost to feed a hillside of folks?’ Jesus had asked Phil on another crowded day.  
Philip had shrugged, calculated for a moment. ‘A day’s wage? A good day’s wage I’d say.’  
‘Follow me,’ Philip had later said to those strange visitors, sounding for all the world like his rabbi, as he dragged more people to meet Jesus. Always bringing others…always.  
‘Philip, you’ve brought so many people to see me, yet you haven’t grasped it yet. When you see me, you see the Father. Keep looking and you’ll see clearly.’  
‘Why not just show yourself to everybody then, finish the job,’ says Judas. ‘Why wait? Why waste time? What’s the point? Let the world know your name.’  
‘The world will know my name, but not yet. Not yet. For now it begins with those who want to know, those who love me, those who are hungry.’  
And with that he lifts some bread and feeds them.  
 
John 14  
 

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