May 21, 2013

Readers' Theatre: 1 Kings 18

Here is a readers’ theatre setting of 1 Kings 18.  It is written for two voices – a narrator and the voice of Elijah.

Readers’ Theatre
Kings 18:20-21, (22-29), 30-39

One:     King Ahab summoned all the people of Israel
and the prophets to Mount Carmel. 
Then Elijah stood in front of them and said,

Two:     How much longer will you waver, hobbling between two opinions?
If the Lord is God, follow him!
But if Baal is God, then follow him!

One:     But the people were completely silent.

Two:     I am the only prophet of the Lord who is left,
but Baal has 450 prophets. 
So let’s try an experiment.
Bring two bulls.
The prophets of Baal may choose whichever one they wish
and cut it into pieces and lay it on the wood of their altar,
but without setting fire to it.
I will prepare the other bull and lay it on the wood on the altar,
but not set fire to it. 
Then you call on the name of your god,
and I will call on the name of the Lord.
The god who answers by setting fire to the wood is the true God!

One:     And all the people agreed.

Two:     You go first, for there are many of you.
Choose one of the bulls, and prepare it
and call on the name of your god.
But do not set fire to the wood.

One:     So they prepared one of the bulls and placed it on the altar.
Then they called on the name of Baal.
From morning until noontime they shouted,
            “O Baal, answer us!”
But there was no reply of any kind.
So they began to dance,
hobbling around the altar they had made.
But still, there was no response.

About noontime Elijah began mocking them.

Two:     I think you’re going to have to shout louder!
Perhaps your god is daydreaming,
or is busy relieving himself.
Or maybe he is away on a trip,
or is asleep and needs to be woken up!

One:     So they shouted louder,
and following their normal custom,
they cut themselves with knives and swords until the blood gushed out. 
They raved all afternoon until the time of the evening sacrifice,
but still there was no sound, no reply, no response.
            Finally, Elijah called to the people,

Two:     Come over here!

One:     They all crowded around him
as he repaired the altar of the Lord that had been torn down. 
He took twelve stones,
one to represent each of the tribes of Israel,
and he used the stones to rebuild the altar in the name of the Lord.
Then he dug a trench around the altar—
large enough to hold about three gallons of water.
He piled wood on the altar, cut the bull into pieces,
and laid the pieces on the wood.

Two:     Go and fill four large jars with water,
and pour the water over the offering and the wood.

One:     The people did what he asked.

Two:     Now do the same thing again!

One:     Once again, they poured water over the offering and the wood.

Two:     Now do it a third time!

One:     Again, they did as he said, 
and the water ran around the altar and even filled the trench.
At the usual time for offering the evening sacrifice,
Elijah the prophet walked up to the altar and prayed:

Two:     O Lord, God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob,
prove today that you are God in Israel and that I am your servant.
Prove that I have done all this at your command. 
O Lord, answer me!
Answer me so these people will know
that you, O Lord, are God
and that you have brought them back to yourself.

One:     And immediately after he had finished,
the fire of the Lord flashed down from heaven
and burned up the young bull, the wood, the stones, and the dust.
It even licked up all the water in the trench! 
And when all the people saw it,
they fell face down on the ground and cried out,
“The Lord—he is God!
Yes, the Lord is God!”