Thanks again to our youth and children who presented the following to go along with the sermon this past Sunday:
Advent Puppet Scene #3 “Calling Third Witness Luke”
Two puppets, Fred and George, appear (members of the gallery)
Fred: Well George, do you think these Christians will be declared guilty by the judge? I am starting to hope not, for they do seem to be very generous people.
George: Well Fred, this particular group of Christians should be declared guilty of something – of overfeeding the pastor! In that sense, they have been very generous people! . . . But you know Fred, they should not be judged innocent or guilty based on whether we like them or not. They should be judged according to the truth. If Jesus really is the King of kings and Lord of lords, and his birth really was special, then they should be declared innocent. But if not, then yes, they are guilty of spreading lies.
Fred: I’m not sure how it will turn out, but this has been the best court case I’ve seen since O.J. Simpson!
Court attendant stands:
Court Attendant: ALL RISE!
Judge enters from the choir entrance and goes to the pulpit
Court Attendant: Please be seated.
Judge: In this case against the Christians for spreading lies, call your third witness.
Prosecutor: I am calling to the stand Luke, writer of a book these Christians call the Gospel of Luke. I believe the jury will find his testimony will show how deceived these Christians really are.
The puppet Luke appears
Prosecutor: Luke, please tell us, were you present at the birth of Jesus?
Luke: No I was not.
Prosecutor: And were you one of Jesus’ disciples, following Him around?
Luke: I was not one of Jesus’ twelve disciples before his crucifixion if that is what you mean, but I am a follower now.
Prosecutor: So you follow a dead man around.
Luke: Oh no! Jesus is alive!
Prosecutor: (in a ridiculing tone) Ah yes, so a virgin birth and a resurrection from the dead . . . But tell us, Luke, how can you know anything about Jesus if you did not know him?
Luke: As I wrote in the beginning of my book, I looked into all these things about Jesus plus I was a companion of Paul for some of his missionary journeys often brushing shoulders with the disciples who were with Jesus.
Prosecutor: Ah, so you have an eye for detail and a passion for history, then.
Luke: Yes, as a matter of fact I do.
Prosecutor: Well then, Luke, if you are so interested in being detailed, how can your account of what happened be so far fetched?
Luke: What do you mean?
Prosecutor: Did you not write that Jesus was laid in a manger because there was no room in the inn? Everyone here knows that a king would be born in a palace! Did you not write that Jesus was born to Mary, a nobody? If God had wanted a child, would he not have chosen a daughter of Herod, or someone of importance? Furthermore did you not write that a multitude of angels appeared to shepherds while they were working in a field to invite them to see this “new king”? Why did Herod not get an invite? Why did the emperor of Rome not get an invite? Why did the chief priest not get an invite? Why was it not tweeted to all the important people? But to lowly shepherds?
George: Hey Fred, why is he picking on shepherds? I like shepherds. And I love their pies!
Fred: Well actually, shepherds would have been considered “unclean” and would not be allowed in the temple – so if they were invited to the birth of God’s Son – that’s saying something!
Prosecutor: For these reasons, your honour and members of the jury, I am sure you will find that the Christmas story is all made up lies.
Luke: Well wait a minute, I am the witness, do I not get to speak?
Judge: Very well, we will hear from Luke.
Luke: I can see how you might be confused, that God would choose Mary, someone you would call a nobody, that God would choose to be born in all humility, in poor circumstances, even dangerous circumstances, that God would invite shepherds and not powerful kings to come and see, but all that fits perfectly with what God is doing.
Judge: And what is God doing?
Luke: Well He is showing His love for the little guy so-to-speak. He is showing that things are different in His Kingdom, that He is a different kind of King. Where all the kings and rulers go after power and fame and fortune – He rules with justice and grace and concern for people. And his birth reflects that. In fact his life and death reflects that too. Think of what our brother Paul wrote in his letter to the Philippians:
“Let the same mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not regard equality with God as something to be exploited, but emptied himself, taking the form of a slave, being born in human likeness. And being found in human form, he humbled himself and became obedient to the point of death – even death on a cross.”
So your honour, these things the prosecutor points out are not proof that I and all other Christians are spreading lies, they are proof that God Himself is a ruler like no other, with a Kingdom like no other, where the hungry are fed, where the lowly are lifted. We are not spreading lies, but the good news that God’s Kingdom is here and that in God’s Kingdom things are wonderfully different.
Fred: Well that cannot be good news for the emperor – no wonder he doesn’t like these Christians.
George: Yeah, just like it was not good news for Herod either – though it might have been had he learned how to be humble.
Judge: Court is adjourned until next week when we will call our next witness.
Candle Lighter: So far we have lit the candles “The Promise of God” and “The Love of God” (lights two candles). Today we light the third advent candle which we call “The Kingdom Revolution of God”. Jesus’ birth was a signal that God’s Kingdom had come, and that in God’s Kingdom everything that was wrong would be put right. (Lights third candle) Let us pray: “Lord we thank you for all the amazing things that you do. Thank you Lord, for Your Kingdom coming. May we learn to be Kingdom people with your concern for the poor and hungry, with your concern for justice and peace, with your love. Use us your witnesses in this sceptical world. In Jesus name we pray, Amen.