The Parable of the River - Drama

N.Y.U Belfast Christian Web Site at Theme : Grace / Salvation / Gospel Message No. of characters: 6 (1 narrator)

Narrator: Once there were five sons who lived in a mountain castle with their father. (1st son steps forwards and waves). The eldest was an obedient son, but his four younger brothers were rebellious ( other sons start messing & fighting). Their father had warned them of the river that flowed near by. He had begged them to stay clear of the river bank in case they be swept downstream, but the riverís lure was too strong.

( sons move closer and closer to the river) Each day the four rebellious brothers ventured closer and closer until one son dared to reach in and feel the waters.

2nd Son (builder): Hold my hand so I wonít fall in!. (brothers link up holding hands, and one son touches the river)

Narrator: But when he touched the water, the current yanked him and the other three into the rapids and rolled them down the river. ( Brothers start to roll)

Over rocks they bounced and though the channels they roared,. Their cries for help were lost in the rage of the river. ( cries!). Though they fought to gain their balance, they were powerless against the strength of the current. After hours of struggles, they surrendered to the pull of the river. The waters finally dumped them on the bank in a strange land.

Savage people dwelt in the land. It was not safe like their home and it was very cold.

For a long time the four sons lay on the bank, stunned at their fall and not knowing where to turn. After some time they gathered their courage and re-entered the waters, hoping to walk upstream. But the current was too strong. . Finally, they built a fire and sat down.

3rd Son (judge): We shouldnít have disobeyed our father

4th son ( stacker): We are a long way from home

Narrator: With the passage of time the sons learned to survive in the strange land. They found nuts for food and killed animals for skins. They determined not to forget their homeland nor abandon hopes of returning. Each day they set about the task of finding food and building shelter. Each evening they built a fire and told stories of their father and older brother. All four sons longed to see them again. Then, one night, one brother failed to come to the fire. The others found him the next morning in the valley with the savages. He was building a hut of grass and mud.

2nd Son: ( builder ) Iíve grown tired of our talks. What good does it do to remember? Besides, this land isnít so bad. I will build a great house and settle here.

4th Son: (stacker) But it isnít home !

2nd Son: (builder) No, but it is if you donít think of the real one.

5th Son: (youngest) But what of Father?

2nd Son: (builder): What of him? He isnít here. He isnít near. Am I to spend forever awaiting his arrival? Iím making new friends; Iím learning new ways. If he comes, he comes, but Iím not holding my breath.

Narrator: And so the other three left their hut-building brother and walked away. They continued to meet around the fire, speaking of home and dreaming of their return.

Some days later a second brother failed to appear at the campfire. The next morning his brothers found him on a hillside staring at the hut of his brother.

3rd Son (judge): How disgusting!. Our brother is an utter failure. An insult to our family name. Can you imagine a more despicable deed? Building a hut and forgetting our father?

5th Son: (youngest): What heís doing is wrong, but what we did was wrong as well. We disobeyed. We touched the river. We ignored our fatherís warnings.

3rd Son (judge): Well, we may have made a mistake or two, but compared to the sleaze in the hut, we are saints. Father will dismiss our sin and punish him.

4th Son (stacker): Return to the fire with us.

3rd Son (judge) : No, I think Iíll keep an eye on our brother. Someone needs to keep a record of his wrongs to show father.

Narrator: And so the two returned, leaving one brother building and the other judging. The remaining two sons stayed near the fire, encouraging each other and speaking of home.

Then one morning the youngest son awoke to find he was alone. He searched for his brother and found him near the river, stacking rocks.

4th Son (stacker): Itís no use, Father wonít come for me. I must go to him. I offended him. I insulted him. I failed him. There is only one option. I will build a path back up the river and walk into our fatherís presence. Rock upon rock I will stack until I have enough rocks to travel upstream to the castle. When he sees how hard I have worked and how diligent I have been, he will have no choice but to open the door and let me into his house.

Narrator: The last brother did not know what to say. He returned to sit by the fire, alone.

(Find me in the river) by Deliriou5?

Scene 2:

1st Son (firstborn) : Father has sent me to bring you home.

5th Son ( youngest) : You have come for us!!

1st Son (firstborn) : YesÖ.Where are your brothers?

5th Son (youngest) : One has made a home here. Another is watching him. And the third is building a path up the river.

Narrator: And so the firstborn set out to find his siblings. He went first to the thatched hut in the valley.

2nd Son (builder): Go away, stranger!Ö.. You are not welcome here!

1st Son (firstborn): I have come to take you home

2nd Son: You have not. You have come to take my mansion

1St Son: This is no mansion!, This is a Hut!Ē

2nd Son: It is a mansion!!, The finest in the lowlands. I built it with my own hands. Now go away. You cannot have my mansion

1st Son: Donít you remember the house of your father?

2nd Son: I have no father.

1st Son: You were born in a castle in a distant land where the air is warm and the fruit is plentiful. You disobeyed your father and ended up in this strange land. I have come to take you home.

Narrator: The brother peered through the window at Firstborn as if recognising a face heíd remembered from a dream. But the pause was brief, for suddenly the savages in the house filled the window as well.

Savages: Go away, intruder! This is not your home. Clear off!!!!

1st Son: You are right, but neither is it his !!

Narrator: The eyes of the two brothers met again. Once more the hut-building brother felt a tug at his heart, but the savages had won his trust.

Savages: He just wants your mansion. Send him away!

Narrator: And so he did.

Firstborn sought the next brother. He didnít have to walk far. On the hillside near the hut, within eyesight of the savages, sat the fault-finding son.

3rd Son( Judge) : How good that you are here to behold the sin of our brother! Are you aware that he turned his back on the castle? Are you aware that he never speaks of home? I knew you would come. I have kept careful account of his deeds. Punish him! I will applaud your anger. He deserves it! Deal with the sins of our brother.

1st Son: We need to deal with your sins first

3rd Son: My sins?

1st Son: Yes, you disobeyed Father

3rd Son: My sins are nothing, There is the sinner (pointing to the hut). Let me tell you of the savages who stay there.....

1st Son: Iíd rather you tell me about yourself.

3rd Son: Donít worry about me. Let me show you who needs help. Come, weíll peek in the windows. He never sees me. Letís go together.

Narrator: The son was at the hut before he noticed that Firstborn hadnít followed him.

Next, the eldest son walked to the river. There he found the last brother, knee-deep in the water, stacking rocks.

1st Son: Father has sent me to take you home.

4th Son : I canít talk now. I must work.

1st Son: Father knows you have fallen. But he will forgive you...

4th Son: He may, the brother interrupted, (struggling to keep his balance against the current), but I have to get to the castle first. I must build a pathway up, the river. First I will show him that I am worthy. Then I will ask for his mercy.

1st Son: He has already given his mercy. I will carry you up the river. You will never be able to build a pathway. The river is too long. The task is too great for your hands. Father sent me to carry you home. I am stronger

Narrator: For the first time the rock-stacking brother looked up.

4th Son: How dare you speak with such irreverence! My father will not simply forgive. I have sinned. I have sinned greatly! He told us to avoid the river, and we disobeyed. I am a great sinner. I need much work

1st Son: No, my brother, you donít need much work. You need much grace. The distance between you and our fatherís house is too great. You havenít enough strength nor the stones to build the road. That is why our father sent me. He wants me to carry you home.

4th Son: Are you saying I canít do it? Are you saying Iím not strong enough? Look at my rocks. Already I can walk five steps!

1st Son: But you have five million to go!!!

4th Son: I know who you are. You are the voice of evil. You are trying to seduce me from my holy work. Get behind me, you serpent! (He throws at Firstborn the rock he was about to place in the river).Heretic!!! Leave this land. You canít stop me! I will build this walkway and stand before my father, and he will have to forgive me., I will win his favour. I will earn his mercy.

1st Son: Favour won is no favour. Mercy earned is no mercy. I implore you, let me carry you up the river.

Narrator: The response was another rock. So firstborn turned and left.

The youngest brother was waiting near the fire when Firstborn returned.

5th Son: The others didnít come?

1st Son: No. One chose to indulge, the other to judge, and the third to work. None of them chose our father!

5th Son: So they will remain here?

1st Son: (The eldest brother nods slowly) For now

5th Son: And we will return to Father?

1st Son: Yes

5th Son: Will he forgive me? (worried)

1st Son: (reassuring) Would he have sent me if he wouldnít?

Narrator: And so the younger brother climbed on the back of the Firstborn and began the journey home!

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