On your marks
Sometimes we just seem to hope that children will ‘pick up’ why the Bible is our special book and why it is here that Christians turn for stories of inspiration and hope. There are many books out there, and children are encouraged to experience a variety of types of literature in schools and are drawn to try out others through special offers and mass marketing. How can we help children and their families to discover the specialness of the Bible and encourage them to make this their key sourcebook for nurturing faith?
Why not have a particular focus on the Bible as the Christian’s special book over a series of Sundays, maybe leading up to Bible Sunday, which is in late October? Perhaps the following drama sketch for two people could be used each week when all ages are present. This is the first in a series of four and is designed to be a fun way to introduce the Bible and its contents.
Originally, this sketch and the others in the series were used each morning as part of a Holiday Club each morning and were performed by one person talking to a puppet who was in the persona of a Bible. However, these are the sort of sketches that could be used in a wide range of settings and so would prove equally useful in the first part of a children’s group session or special children’s event, before the children go off to explore particular stories or themes.
You may have access to a Bible puppet for this, but it will work equally well between two people with one speaking the Bible’s words, perhaps holding a large, painted box Bible. For fun and variety the accent for the Bible voice was one from the deep south of America – Kentucky Fried Chicken style – which explains some of the language and references.
The original dialogues were used during a summer holiday period, so there may be some time references you may need to adapt. You will also need a few hardback books to hand.
For more material for sketches on this theme go to More ideas for sketches about the Bible.
My thanks goes to Philip Wooley from my church, who helped me devise the original sketches
First sketch with Holly Bible
(M: = Friend, HB: = Holly Bible)
M: Hi there, everybody. Welcome to today’s service/club/session. It’s the school holidays – hurray! What sort of a holiday are you planning? Going away? Visiting family? Staying at home? Will anyone do some reading? Perhaps you might get involved with one of those Holiday Reading Schemes at the library? There are some interesting books about, like these ones I have here. There are some with great titles. Here are some of the ones I thought sounded good:
Easy Money by Robin Banks
Cliff-top Tragedy by Eileen Dover
The Long Walk Home by Miss D. Bus
Doggy Dinners by Nora Bone
Surprise Military Tactics by Major Jump
What do you think? OK, not very good! What I need is a really Good Book…
HB: Did I hear someone say ‘good book’?
Well, bless your soul! Bless your soul! You need look no further.
M: I beg your pardon?
HB: Fear not. Fear not. Be of good cheer! If it’s a good book you want, then look no further. Here I am. The Good Book.
M: But… what… I mean… who are you?
HB: Bless your soul. Bless your cotton-pickin’ soul. Don’t y’know me? Let me introduce myself. I’m Holly Bible, your friendly Bible Book. I hear you’re looking for a book. Well, let Holly Bible have a word with you; or two or three million words, if you like!
M: A Bible Book? Well, I’m not so sure that’s the book I’m looking for. I don’t want to hurt your feelings but isn’t the Bible rather… boring!
HB: Boring? Boring?! What are you saying, boy? Don’t y’know how special I am?
M: Special? How?
HB: Let me put it this way. When you go to the shopping mall, you’s lot get all excited when there’s them special offers like two for the price of one. Well, that’s nuthin! I’m so special that I’m actually 66 for the price of one!
HB: Why, bless your soul. I’m not just one book, but 66 books all in one!
M: All in one volume? Isn’t that a bit of a bind?
HB: Yep, it’s a tight squeeze, but it sure makes me mighty versatile!
HB: Well, I can be all sorts of things. Listen!
Sometimes I’m a sword – en guarde! (in a French accent)
Sometimes I’m like honey – (smacks lips) ah, taste and see that the Lord is good!
Sometimes I’m a hammer – (banging noises and then sings) ‘if I had a hammer…’
Sometimes I’m milk (slurping noises) and sometimes I’m meat (chewing noises).
And sometimes I’m a lamp.
M: So that must mean you’re both heavy and light! Amazing! But how can this all be? What sort of storybook are you?
HB: I’m God’s story. His Story. Don’t you know that? Well, bless your soul, what do they teach you young’uns in high school these days? I’m God’s Story.
M: You mean you belong to God?
HB: Not exactly. I belong to everybody. I’m God’s story for you all.
M: OK then, what sort of story are you? Give us a flavour. Are you an adventure story?
HB: Adventure? Yup, on page 50 I got… Angel Wrestling!
M: OK. How about history?
HB: History? No problem. I got more Kings than BurgerKings!
HB: Drama? Drama! Have I got drama! You can forget Kentucky Fried Chicken Run. I got an escape story that’ll knock the feathers offer’yous.
M: But what about romance?
HB: Let’s see. Yup. A whole book full of Luv poetry (sloppy voice), ‘Your eyes arelike the pools of Heshbon.’
M: Mmm!! Songs?
HB: Bless your soul, have I got songs?! Ain’t you’s never heard of my ‘Sing-along-a-David’ section?
M: And letters?
HB: Letters… words, sentences, paragraphs, I got the lot!
M: That sounds like good news.
HB: Precisely, it is good news!
M: What do you mean?
HB: I’m not just a book you read and then forget about. You see (confidential whisper), I got promises. Plum-perfect and pumpkin-pie precious promises!
HB: Yes sir-ee! God’s story – His story – is all about them promises! Don’t you be telling me you ain’t never read them?! (shocked tone )
Stick around and I promise you more promises than saddles at a rodeo!
M: Can everyone listen in too?
HB: Sure thing. The more the merrier. Jus’ take a leaf out of my pages and make darn sure you’re booked in every day!
(exits muttering... ) Ain’t never heard of the promises? Jus’ can’t believe it
Second sketch with Holly Bible
(M: = Friend, HB: = Holly Bible)
M: Welcome back again. I hope you can see my special holiday library here. There are some great book titles! And there‘s plenty more where those came from! Perhaps you’ve thought of one or two batty books yourself!
Here are some:
Laying carpets by Walter Wall
A Hole in my Bucket by Lee King
The Haunted House by Hugo First
Feeling Ill by Ivor Nastykov
Making Honey by B. Keeper
and so on.
Why don’t you bring along some ideas for crazy books to add to our ludicrous library.
We are on the search for a really good book.
HB: You called? The one and only good book, at your service once again. Holly Bible, the Book of Books. Glad to see that you young’uns took my advice and booked in to hear more from my sacred pages. ‘The law of the Lord makes them happy and they think about it day and night.’ Psalm 1, verse 2.
M: Yes, definitely. Well, we did make a start yesterday, just like you said. Discovering the promises!
HB: That’s just fine and dandy. Like I always say, ‘Your word to me… is like pure gold; I treasure what you say’ Psalm 119, verse 140.
M: Wow, you’re good at numbers.
HB: You bet I am. Numbers… Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges…
M: OK, OK we don’t need the whole list at the moment. We have been discovering some of the promises together. Thanks for the clue to what holds His Story together.
We’re hoping to discover some more about God’s Special Book today. Do you have any other advice for us?
HB: You’ve sure come to the right place if it’s advice you’re wanting! As me old grand-pappy – Wy Cliffe – used to say, ‘Bible verses can save you from spiritual re-verses.’
M: That’s a neat saying.
HB: Dog gone it, he’d plenty of them sort of sayings. Like his famous proverb, ‘A Bible in the hand is worth two in the bookcase.’
M: Don’t you mean…?
HB: Or ‘A thumbprint on the Bible is more important than a footprint on the moon.’ Yup, he sure knew how to tell it, did grand-pappy.
All of history is in these here pages. All linked by them ‘great and marvellous promises’ 2 Peter chapter 1, verse 4.
M: So there are more promises for us to discover today?
HB: More, why of course there are more! More promises than fish in the Mississippi or hairs on a groundhog. You’ve only looked at the Old Testament part of me. What about my New Testament? It’s here that some of the promises come true and there’s a whole heap of new ones as well.
M: Thanks Holly, we’ll let you know how we get on. We promise!
HB: Well, mind you do. And remember, as me old grand-pappy used to say, ‘The only good Bible is an open Bible’ and ‘A Bible that’s falling apart is probably owned by someone who aint.’
‘You give peace of mind to all who love your law. Nothing can make them fall.’ Psalm 119, verse 165. (He then trips and crashes out of sight.)
(off stage ) It’s OK. I didn’t hurt myself… much!
(All Bible verses taken from the Contemporary English Version.)
Third sketch with Holly Bible
M: Welcome again. Great to see you all. How’s your book hunting been? Come up with any good titles of must-read books?!
(invite children to share some batty book titles)
Here are a few more I found:
Parachute Jumping by Willie Maykit
Weight-lifting by Buster Gutt
On the Rocks by Mandy Lifeboat
Show Jumping by Jim Carner
Loneliness by I. Malone
Well we’re certainly ‘well-read’ because of those terrible titles, in more ways than one!
What we need is a really good book!
HB: And here I am again! Black and white and re(a)d all over, as the joke goes. Get it? Holly Bible, the Book of books, the Book of promises. The world’s best-seller.
M: But sadly not the world’s best-read, or so I hear.
HB: Doggon it, you’re not wrong there my boy. It’s a cotton-pickin’ shame. I’m often just left on the shelf. No good to anyone there. How can people find out about them there promises? As me old grand-pappy used to say, ‘Them as keeps their Bibles open, never finds the door to heaven shut.’
M: We’ve have been trying to do our bit, Holly. You were right again, there are plenty of promises there if you take the time to look.
HB: ‘Jesus Christ says “yes” to all God’s promises’ 2 Corinthians, chapter 1, verse 20.
HB: You surely must have discovered that one! All God’s promises come true for us through Jesus. He is the Promise of God that holds my pages together and the whole of history too!
M: Oh, yes, I did read that one. But where do we go from here? We’ve got to the end of the book.
HB: The end. The end? What on earth do you mean, boy? The story of my book ain’t over that easy. I said it’s about the whole of history. It’s His Story, don’t you remember?
M: So what happened next?
HB: God’s story has gone on. It’s always a ‘to be continued’ sort of story. Whenever people opened my pages and read these promises and met the Promised One, it’s changed their lives, re-directed history and pushed back the darkness. You see, this is the secret… (confidential tone)… people passed it on… (loudly) ‘You gave the command and a great chorus… told what happened’ Psalm 68, verse 11.
M: You mean the promises were passed on!
HB: Precisely. People have risked their lives to get my story into the hearts and hands of anybody who would listen. I’ve been copied, illustrated, translated, printed, taped, pocketed, broadcasted, videoed, TVed, digitalized, computerized and even emailed! I’m a truly world-travelled story! I have even been read in outer space! No kidding.
HB: So don’t talk about coming to the end! You can’t get rid of me that easy! ‘Grass dries up, and flowers fall to the ground. But what the Lord has said will stand for ever’ 1 Peter, chapter 1, verses 24 and 25.
M: We weren’t trying to get rid of you. We just didn’t know where to go next. Now we do, we will investigate the next part of the story.
We’ll keep in touch.
HB: (goes off muttering) End of the story indeed! Me, come to an end? That’ll be the day! I will survive! (singing) I will survive… How could God’s story ever come to an end?
(All Bible verses taken from the Contemporary English Version.)
Fourth sketch with Holly Bible
M: Welcome back, everybody. I wonder who has been to every service/session/day so far? Well done. I reckon you’ve made history! You’re history-makers! I suppose you could say that the first sketches are already history but we’re discovering that every day is history because it’s part of His Story!
History is God’s story and he invites us to be part of it. He wants to write our names into his book of life.
Talking of books – has anyone come across any more unusual books like the ones we have already heard about?
(share these ‘jokes’ with the congregation/group)
I say, I say, I say, what do you say when you discover a library at the bottom of our trousers?
Wow, that’s a turn-up for the books!
I say, I say, I say, what did the picture book say to the paperback?
Sorry, but you’re just not my type.
And now for a serious riddle now: what book has no cover, no pages and no writing?
A talking book!
HB: Did I hear someone say talking book? That can only mean me! Holly Bible once again, at your service… the morning service, the family service, the evening service… though it’s usually my Welsh cousin that is used then….. Pugh Bible… or my well-spoken younger brother Kid James.
Or perhaps you’ve got your own copy to read at home – I sure hope so – perhaps you’ve got my up-to-date grand niece, Miss Ivy. She’s a popular choice – AnN Ivy’s her name. All of them talking books – the book of books, the book of promises, the book that survives… and the book that changes lives!
M: What do you mean?
HB: Listen up, you young’uns. You see, like I told you it’s history, His Story… and it can become your story too, if you listen!
HB: Well, it’s no good me talking with God’s words, if people don’t listen. ‘I will listen to you, Lord God, because you promise peace’ Psalm 85, verse 8.
M: You mean that people can actually hear God talking to them?
HB: Well, bless your soul, bless your soul! Of course they do. It’s one of the ways that God speaks! Ain’t you bin list’nin?
M: Well, we have been following the story so far and we’ve got through an awful lot of history! Right up to today, I suppose.
HB: That’s right. ‘Listen to God’s voice today’ Psalm 95, verse 7b. You see I’m always precise and bang up-to-date!
M: Does this mean that we have got more to hear about… if we pay attention to your story today?
HB: More? More? Hot diggity dog, of course there’s more! Listen up… my pages have been described as dynamite!
HB: Sure thing! They can blow your mind… and heart, if you let them, with power from on high! Reckon I should carry a government warning on my cover: ‘Beware, these pages could seriously improve your health!’ ‘Discover for yourself that the Lord is kind’ Psalm 34, verse 8.
M: Thanks for your encouragement, Holly. Your advice has certainly been a word in season.
HB: It’s been a mighty pleasure to open my pages for you young’uns. And remember what me old grand-pappy used to say: ‘In a down-town library it’s you that changes the books, but in God’s library, it’s the books that change you!’
M: Thanks for talking to us, Holly. We’ll pass on your words.
HB: Make sure you do, now. Bless your soul… bless your soul.
(louder) Bless your soul… ‘Bless the Lord, O my soul: and all that is within me bless his holy name’ Psalm 103, verse 1. That’s the Revised Standard Version of me!
Bye, be seein’ you’all!
(Unless otherwise stated, all Bible verses taken from the Contemporary English Version.)
Further ideas for sketches for two people about the Bible
(The two characters are A and B. A is enthusiastic and a bit naive. B has to try and put him/her right. These four sketches complement the four pieces with Holly Bible – see above.)
A: 91, 92, 93, 94…
B: What are you up to ?
A: 97, 98, 9… Oh dear, I’ve missed a line and now I’ve gone wrong! I’ll have to start all over again!
B: I’m sorry, but just what were you doing?
A: I’m counting God’s promises. There are hundreds of them. They’re all listed out in this other book I was recommended by Holly Bible. It’s got something to do with airplanes?
B: What on earth do you mean? How can a book about planes have all God’s promises in? What’s it called?
A: It’s called a… Concord-ance.
B: Oh! I might need to explain that one, but not now. Are you ready to hear some more about God’s Story- about His Story?
A: About more promises?
B: Yes, plenty more and about how the promises start to come true.
A: Of course, because God’s promises always come true. At least I’ve learned that and I’ve been remembering some of my other favourite bits from God’s Special Book.
B: What bits?
A: There’s the story about the man who brought the house down – that’s Samson.
Or the man who once felt very down in the mouth – that’s Jonah.
And the man who did a balancing act, on his wrist, while on the walls of Jerusalem, with his eyes shut!
B: A balancing act? On his wrist? With his eyes shut?! Who on earth was that?
A: It says here… it’s the man who fell asleep on his watch!
B: Oh dear, again. That‘s another I‘ll have to explain later! But those stories all come from the Old Testament part of God‘s Book. There are also promises are in the New Testament. Are you ready? Promise you will listen. Promise that you won‘t interrupt?
A: I promise, I promise. Is this going to be about the disciples and the crowds and about Jesus and…
A: Hold on, hold on, you‘re getting ahead of things again. Yesterday the promises were linked to the sand. Today the promises are linked to… fish . Listen and I‘ll explain…
A: Matthew, Mark, Luke and John
Acts and Romans follow on…
B: Hi there, what are you up to this time.
A: Oh hi. I’m trying to learn the story books in the new part of God’s Special Book. The trouble is I keep getting muddled up with all the ones ending in -shuns.
A: You know the effy-shuns and glos-shuns. It’s complicated.
B: They don’t all end like that, do they? Which others do you know?
A: Well, there’s a Peter or two and a James and a Timothy. I’ve got friends with those names, so they’re easy. But I just don’t see where the islands and the dogs come in.
B: Islands and dogs????
A: The Philippines and the Alsatians.
B: You mean Philippians and Galatians! Don’t worry about that for now. It’s the promises that matter. Do you remember what they were?
A: Well, Jesus was the one God promised and he has given us a load more special promises.
Like he promises that he will never turn us away… that’s great! And he promises us that life with him even beats death.
B: Can anyone help us out with some more? That’s right.
A: He promises a brand-new start for anyone who comes to him and says sorry.
B: He calls it forgiveness.
A: Guess what?
B: What is it?
A: Guess what? I’m writing a book!
B: A book?!
A: Yes! You see, I’ve been talking to everyone here and they’ve told me about the books they like…
B: You mean like… (mention some of the groups)
A: And some said they like the titles in the ‘Horrible Histories’ series – you know the ones. Well, I’ve decided to write my own series. I’m going to write my version called… ‘the Heavenly Histories’ – all based on God’s story!
B: Sounds good. What titles have you thought of?
A: Well, let me try a few out on you.
There’s ‘the Itchy Israelites’ … they must have had itchy feet, because they were always on the move!
‘The Jumping Judges’… because they were always jumping up and reminding people to trust in God.
‘The Konfused Kings’… because some were good and some were bad.
And the ‘Paint-pot Prophets’.
B: The ‘Paint-pot Prophets’!! Why on earth were they called that?
A: Because they were always shouting out ‘Re-paint, re-paint’ (make this sound like’ repent’!)
And then I thought about ‘The Fine, Friendly, Fiery, Faithful, Funny, Fast, Fantastic Fishermen’
B: Wow, but why so many ‘fs’?
A: Well, there were twelve of them!
Or there’s ‘The Dazzling Disciples’, ‘The Magnificent Missionaries’, and ‘The Travelling Translators’.
B: This sounds great. When’s the series coming out?
A: Well, there might be a delay.
B: Why’s that?
A: You see, I only just thought of it this morning and I’m not a fast writer.
B: What you need to do is make a Talking Book!
A: Like Holly Bible, you mean? Like God’s book, in fact.
B: Actually, did you know that God does want you to write a book but it’s a book without words or pages or even a cover.
A: No words? No pages?? No cover??? Not even any full stops???
B: That’s right. It’s a book about you and God. His-story linked up with Your story!
A: Wow… How do I get started?
B: Well, it starts as soon as you ask Jesus to be your friend and co-writer for ever.
A: You mean, I can be part of God’s story, like Abraham and Moses… like Ruth and David… and Mary and Paul…. and all the others we’ve heard about?
B: Yes, that’s right. It’s what God wants all along.
A: Listen, listen, I’ve been talking with Holly Bible and she’s shown me something amazing about the Book of books.
B: What is it?
A: Well, it sort of sums it all up, in a really neat way.
B: Sums what up?
A: The whole of the story… history… His-story… you know.
B: Go on.
A: What are the first words of God’s special book?
B: (with help from those listening) ‘In the beginning GOD‘
A: That’s right, the book starts with GOD.
Now, what are the almost last words of God’s special book?
B: Oh, that’s harder. Can anyone help me? ‘Come Lord Jesus‘.
A: That‘s right, the book ends with JESUS.
Now what are the middle words in God’s special book?
B: Now, that’s an impossible question! No one knows that.
A: Holly Bible does!
B: She would! So what is it?
A: (imitating Holly Bible‘s accent) ‘Psalm 118, verses 8 and 9‘… and guess what the key word in these verses is?TRUST.
A: So, God‘s special book starts with God, ends with Jesus and it all hinges on putting our trust in him. Isn‘t that amazing!
B: Wow, that is neat. We must remember that!