Excerpt from
The Jensen Family

Probably he got caught in a steel trap like this one over here," their dad said, pointing to an exhibit in the next case.
"But how could he get free from that?" Julie asked.

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– posted 12.04.2009

The Sunday School Play

A Character story about humility.

"Come to order, class," Mrs. Forbes called. Her junior aged Sunday school students slowly quieted down. "How good to see each of you today. Now, as you all know, next month it will be our turn to be in charge of the Sunday school opening. Does anyone have any suggestions for a presentation?"
"Let Carl tell jokes," Jimmy yelled.
"How about Cindy baking everyone some cookies," Lance said. "Then everyone will be poisoned and we won't have to do it again."
"Very funny," Cindy huffed.
"All right, class," Mrs. Forbes called, waving her hands, "I want a serious suggestion. I think it would be nice if we did something that had a good message, and yet was different from what other classes have done."
"How about a play?" Carol suggested.
"O.K. You be the clown," Lance interrupted again.
"Lance," Mrs. Forbes scowled angrily, "that will be enough out of you. Unless you have something kind to say, just keep quiet. I think Carol's idea is a good one."
"Maybe we could act out one of the Bible stories we've been studying," Cindy offered. "How about the story of the Pharisee and the Publican?"
Mrs. Forbes nodded. "Great idea. Who would be willing to be in it?"
"There aren't any girls in that story," Carl said. "Why don't they make the costumes."
"We could have one of the girls read the Scripture passage," said Mrs. Forbes. "Who would like to do that?"
As Mrs. Forbes waited for a volunteer, the door opened and in walked two strange children. The class quieted. The clothes of both were well-worn and, it appeared- and smelled- like they had not bathed for too long. The little girl looked down, holding tightly to the boy's hand as he announced, "Hi. I'm Charlie, and this is my sister Noreen, and we just moved down the road a piece and our mother just let us off to go to church and I was wondering if we're in the right place."
"How nice of you to join us," Mrs. Forbes greeted, shaking his hand. "How old are you and your sister, Charlie?"
"Well, I'm 10 and my sister here is 5, er, I mean 6. She just had a birthday last week you know."
"That's wonderful. Happy birthday, Noreen." The little girl only looked up long enough to grin slightly. "Noreen really should be in Mrs. MacDonald's class, but I think it will be all right if she stays with you today, Charlie. Won't you take a seat?"
As the two stepped over to the only two empty chairs that were together, Lance got up and shuffled to the other end of the row. A conspicuous chair now separated the newcomers from the rest of the class.
"We were just discussing a play our class will be performing in the Sunday school opening next month."
"Oh, goodie," Charlie beamed. "I love plays. Me and my sister here, we make up plays all the time."
"Too bad you didn't get here earlier," Lance said. "'cause Jimmy and me, we just volunteered for the main parts, right Jimmy? You be the Pharisee, and I'll be the tax collector dude. All set, Mrs. Forbes. All the parts are taken."
Mrs. Forbes felt helpless as she realized that the story had so few parts. Then she got an idea. "Charlie, would you like to read the Scripture passage before the children act out the story? It's found in Luke 18, verses 9 through 14."
"Sure would! But, what's a 'Luke'?"
A titter of laughter spread across the room until Mrs. Forbes scowled again. "Luke is a book in the Bible. Do you have a Bible, Charlie?"
"No, but my mom does, and she says it is a very good book."
"Your mother is absolutely right. Here, you can read the first verse out of my Bible."
Mrs. Forbes laid the Bible on Charlie's lap. He picked up where her finger pointed, cleared his throat, and began. "And. . .h-h-he. . . .sp-. . . .sp-.. . I don't know that word."
"It's 'spake.' It's an old fashioned way of saying 'speak'," Mrs. Forbes explained.
"I wonder why they don't just say 'speak' like the rest of us folks do," Charlie said under his breath. Again the rest of the class snickered.
"I suppose I'll read the passage for you," Monica sighed. "We'll be here all day waiting for him."
"All right, Monica. you read it today for our practice. Charlie, maybe you can practice so you can read it for the program."
"I can if I mom will let me borrow her Bible."
"I'll be sure that you have your very own Bible by then."
"He needs it," someone in the back row whispered, and everyone snickered again.
The day of the presentation finally arrived. The girls had done a reasonably good job with the props and costumes. Charlie said he couldn't get all those big words, so Monica read the Scripture. As the Pharisee, Jimmy stood to full height as he yelled, "I'm glad I'm not like others are, especially like this tax collector over here," and he pointed at Lance. The little children giggled and laughed, as Lance beat his chest and cried out, "God be merciful to me a sinner," adding more and more drama as the children laughed louder and louder.
When the play finished, Pastor Schroeder arose and said, "Thank you, children, for showing us this great parable from the Bible. It is easy to feel we are better than others, like that Pharisee did. God wants us to recognize our need for him and to humble ourselves before him. Though we are all just sinners, Christ died for each of us, that we might have eternal life. Is there someone today who would like to receive the Saviour?" While Lance and Jimmy played foot tag, and one of the girls adjusted the ribbon on her dress, Charlie and his sister walked to the front to talk with the Pastor.

Now you read the parable? Were the Sunday school children acting like the Pharisee or the Publican?
Which of the two characters in Luke 18:9-14 most closely resembles you?