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Reference: Matthew 18:18
Format: All-age message
Season: Ordinary time

Download the script here

During a conversation about the effect one person has on others, an increasing number of children are sent to stand behind one of the people and copy their actions.

Notes for performance:

a) This sketch will be much more effective if the script is learned – at least roughly. The exact words are less important than the point being made.

b) Use the real names of the two people involved. ‘Vic’ is the person in authority, maybe the vicar, minister or pastor and ‘Wanda’ is the person wondering what the verse means. But it will make more sense to use the given names of the two participants.

c) Before the sketch a third person needs to enlist half a dozen or so volunteers and explain to them briefly (and quietly so that the congregation doesn’t hear) that she will send them up one at a time to stand somewhere behind ‘Wanda’ (not too close, but visible to the congregation) and that once in position they are to copy Wanda’s gestures and movement as closely as they can. By the end of the sketch every gesture of Wanda should be being echoed by all the volunteers standing behind. Wanda behaves as if unaware of this. (So she shouldn’t turn round if she can help it!)

d) An alternative to finding the volunteers just before the sketch is to choose them before the service starts. This had the advantage that a better explanation can be given, and maybe even a rehearsal.

e) The symbol [*] marks the points when the next volunteer is ushered up. This caters for seven volunteers. If more or less, use your common sense when to send them.

f) Some of the actions are specified in the text, but Wanda should gesticulate as much as possible even in general conversation. Don’t be afraid to exaggerate gestures, but bear in mind that facial expressions will be less easy to copy if people can only see the back of your head!

All Together Now

WANDA: Excuse me, Vic.

VIC: What can I do for you, Wanda?

WANDA: I don’t understand something Jesus said.

VIC: Welcome to the club.

WANDA: Pardon?

VIC: Never mind. What is it you don’t understand?

WANDA: (referring to Bible) This bit in Matthew’s gospel. He says “Whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.” That sounds as if I can affect what goes on in heaven by what I do here on earth. That can’t be right, can it?

VIC: Why not?

WANDA: Because what I do doesn’t make any difference to anybody. Let alone to God.

VIC: That’s not true. What you do does affect other people. [*]

WANDA: I don’t see how.

VIC: Do you like dancing?

WANDA: You mean disco-dancing? (performs a few disco moves)

VIC: I was thinking of ballroom dancing.

WANDA: Yes, I’ve done a bit of that. The Waltz and the Gay Gordons and so on. (demonstrates with imaginary partner)

VIC: When you were dancing with someone. Did they keep in step with you or go off in their own direction.

WANDA: They did the same as I did.

VIC: Exactly. They say that Ginger Rogers could do everything that Fred Astaire could do, only backwards and in high heels. That what happens when you dance. Where you go, your partner goes. [*] Did you used to play sport at school?

WANDA: Yes I was in the football / netball team (delete as necessary). I used to play every Saturday (demonstrates sport action).

VIC: What did your parents do whilst you were playing?

WANDA: One of them always came to watch, didn’t they? I mean, how would I have got to the match without one of them giving me a lift? [*]

VIC: And did they cheer when the ball went in the net?

WANDA: Of course. We all did. (jumps, waves arms, shouts goal etc.)

VIC: So what you decided to do with your Saturdays affected what your parents did with their Saturdays?

WANDA: I suppose so.

VIC: And what about your moods? [*]

WANDA: What do you mean?

VIC: Well, are you ever grumpy?

WANDA: Yes, sometimes (acts grumpy)

VIC: And do you get cross? [*]

WANDA: Not often, but sometimes thing annoy me so much I stamp my feet, slam doors, tear my hair (demonstrates) and generally make a nuisance of myself.

VIC: And do you ever get over-excited? [*]

WANDA: Oh yes, (starts to act excited, clapping hands, jumping up and down) like last week it was my birthday and someone bought this enormous chocolate cake. Mmmm it was yummy (rubs tummy).

VIC: And how do you think these moods affect the people around you?

WANDA: (scratches head) Well, I suppose when I’m grumpy or cross (acts it) then other people get grumpy or cross too, and when I’m happy (acts it) then it cheers other people up.

VIC: So what you’re saying is that the things you do affect other people. [*]

WANDA: I’d never thought of it quite like that. You mean the way I behave (points to self) influences the way other people behave. (spreads arms to indicate others)

VIC: And when you’re doing the right things, like loving your neighbour, God is so pleased that he just can’t wait to join in too.

WANDA: I see what you mean. What I loose here on earth, will be loosed in heaven (with expansive gestures)! That’s so amazing it makes me want to dance, jump and cheer all at once. (does so in final display of silliness for everyone to join in)

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