Here’s a readers’ theatre setting of John 11: 1-45, the raising of Lazarus (the gospel reading for Lent 5, Year A). It is set for four voices.
Readers’ Theatre: John 11: 1-45
One: A man named Lazarus was sick.
He lived in Bethany with his sisters, Mary and Martha.
This is the Mary who later poured the expensive perfume on the Lord’s feet
and wiped them with her hair.
Her brother, Lazarus, was sick.
So the two sisters sent a message to Jesus telling him,
Two: Lord, your dear friend is very sick.
One: But when Jesus heard about it he said,
Three: Lazarus’s sickness will not end in death.
No, it happened for the glory of God
so that the Son of God will receive glory from this.
One: So although Jesus loved Martha, Mary, and Lazarus,
he stayed where he was for the next two days.
Finally, he said to his disciples,
Three: Let’s go back to Judea.
One: But his disciples objected.
Four: Rabbi, only a few days ago
the people in Judea were trying to stone you.
Are you going there again?
Three: There are twelve hours of daylight every day.
During the day people can walk safely.
They can see because they have the light of this world.
But at night there is danger of stumbling because they have no light.
Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep,
but now I will go and wake him up.
Four: Lord, if he is sleeping, he will soon get better!
One: The disciples thought Jesus meant Lazarus was simply sleeping,
but Jesus meant Lazarus had died.
So he told them plainly,
Three: Lazarus is dead.
And for your sakes, I’m glad I wasn’t there,
for now you will really believe.
Come, let’s go see him.
One: Thomas, nicknamed the Twin, said to his fellow disciples,
Four: Let’s go, too—and die with Jesus.
One: When Jesus arrived at Bethany,
he was told that Lazarus had already been in his grave for four days.
Bethany was only a few miles down the road from Jerusalem,
and many of the people had come to console Martha and Mary in their loss.
When Martha got word that Jesus was coming,
she went to meet him.
But Mary stayed in the house.
Martha said to Jesus,
Two: Lord, if only you had been here,
my brother would not have died.
But even now I know that God will give you whatever you ask.
Three: Your brother will rise again.
Two: Yes, he will rise when everyone else rises, at the last day.
Three: I am the resurrection and the life.
Anyone who believes in me will live, even after dying.
Everyone who lives in me and believes in me will never ever die.
Do you believe this, Martha?
Two: Yes, Lord, I have always believed you are the Messiah, the Son of God,
the one who has come into the world from God.
One: Then she returned to Mary.
She called Mary aside from the mourners and told her,
Two: The Teacher is here and wants to see you.
One: So Mary immediately went to him.
Jesus had stayed outside the village,
at the place where Martha met him.
When the people who were at the house consoling Mary saw her leave so hastily,
they assumed she was going to Lazarus’s grave to weep.
So they followed her there.
When Mary arrived and saw Jesus, she fell at his feet and said,
“Lord, if only you had been here, my brother would not have died.”
When Jesus saw her weeping
and saw the other people wailing with her,
a deep anger welled up within him,
and he was deeply troubled.
Three: Where have you put him?
One: They told him, “Lord, come and see.”
Then Jesus wept.
The people who were standing nearby said,
“See how much he loved him!”
But some said, “This man healed a blind man.
Couldn’t he have kept Lazarus from dying?”
Jesus was still angry as he arrived at the tomb,
a cave with a stone rolled across its entrance.
Three: Roll the stone aside.
One: But Martha, the dead man’s sister, protested,
Two: Lord, he has been dead for four days. The smell will be terrible.
Three: Didn’t I tell you that you would see God’s glory if you believe?
One: So they rolled the stone aside.
Then Jesus looked up to heaven and said,
Three: Father, thank you for hearing me.
You always hear me,
but I said it out loud for the sake of all these people standing here,
so that they will believe you sent me.
One: Then Jesus shouted,
Three: Lazarus, come out!
One: And the dead man came out,
his hands and feet bound in graveclothes,
his face wrapped in a headcloth.
Three: Unwrap him and let him go!
One: Many of the people who were with Mary
believed in Jesus when they saw this happen.