Sketches

In the His Company context, a "sketch" is brief—shorter than a one-act—and requires at least two people. Most of our sketches are less than ten minutes in length.

(For an explanation of why we prefer the term "sketch" and eschew the term "skit", go here.)

A Greater Love

5 minutes / 2 characters

Description
Thaddaeus has just returned to Nazareth—five days after the crucifixion of Jesus. For the moment, he is confused and saddened by the death of his Master. His wife, Keren-Happuch, considers this a perfect opportunity to pry her husband loose from what she has seen as a most foolish occupation.

Thaddaeus is a quiet, thoughtful man who chooses his words deliberately; Keren is a woman of abrasive opinion—and thoroughly opposed to the teachings of Christ.

One of our most popular and dynamic sketches, A Greater Love is replete with dramatic tension, exploring the dynamics of a household divided by one member's allegiance to Christ.

Theme
Our love for the Lord must be greater than our love for any other (Matt. 10:37).

Production Notes
This sketch will wake up the audience. Keren is a bitter, spiteful woman who detests everything Jesus represents. A Greater Love packs a lot of intense drama into a short sketch.

Set/Props
None are required; Keren could be given some domestic prop, but it is not necesary.

Characters
Thaddaeus
Keren-Happuch (his wife)

Topics
Devotion Allegiance to Christ Husband Wife Marriage Anger Cynicism Confusion Matthew 10:37 A Greater Love Crucifixion Resurrection

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Dave
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A Practical Faith

5 minutes / 2 characters

Description
Prisca has a problem. Already she is having to defend her Grampa Thomas against the accusations of others. Already he has been labeled "Doubting Thomas". But her Gramma Sarah, wife of the late apostle, knows that Jesus called human beings for disciples—not mindless puppets. Jesus wanted followers who were real. And He still does.

Theme

The first lesson is that God gave every person a mind of their own. Our heavenly Father is not interested in the blind praise and empty worship of puppets. He wants everyone to choose, to—desire a relationship with Him. And the second lesson is a result of the first: Since every person is left to make up their own mind, then not everyone will have the same kind of faith. Thomas had a more practical faith, and his questioning—his doubts—led him to a deeper, more vibrant faith than he had had before."
(from A Practical Faith).

Characters
Sarah (Mrs. Thomas; age 74)
Prisca (her granddaughter)

Production Notes
Sarah's grandchild could also be played by a boy; just change the name to Micah.

Topics
Doubting Thomas The Twelve Disciples Apostles A Practical Faith Reasoning Resurrection Easter

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Dave
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Blinders

10 minutes / 3 characters and Narrator

Description
This sketch lifts two of the more explosively dramatic scenes from The Essence of His Death and ties them together with narration, to make a gripping statement about traditions and loyalty.

Seven hundred years earlier, the prophet Isaiah had warned his people of the change coming. He warned that the house of Israel would stumble over the Son of Man. The fulfillment of their long-awaited Messiah was so complete they were blind to it. And they were so locked into their mindless traditions they feared to let go. But there were some who dared—some who believed—some who rejoiced in His glorious light." (Narrator in Blinders)

Theme
"You hypocrites! Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you: 'These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. They worship me in vain; their teachings are but rules taught by men.'" (Matthew 15:7-9 NIV)
Jesus is the Christ.

Characters
Narrator
Malchiah
Nicodemus (or Joseph of Arimathea; either would work)
Caiaphas

Wardrobe
At one performance of this sketch, His Company dressed the characters in black robes, as if they were modern court justices.

Set
No set or props are necessary

Topics
Sanhedrin Caiaphas Nicodemus Traditions Traditionalism Loyalty Easter Crucifixion Court Counselors Messiah The Essence of His Death Blinders Hypocrites Hypocrisy Prophecy Legalism Good Friday

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Closets

12 minutes / 3 characters

Description
Two women meet in a fancy restaurant. One is well-dressed, sophisticated, confident—the other is poorly-dressed, a bit coarse, withdrawn.

Loraine is down on her luck. Her husband left her several years ago because of her drinking problem and she carries around with her the heavy baggage of resentment—both toward her husband and toward the church she felt let her down.

Betty appears to be someone above and untouched by such sorrows of life. Her clothing reflects wealth, her hands are smooth and manicured, her demeanor bespeaks a woman in charge of her life.

But things—and people—are not always what they seem. And we all have things tucked back in our closets that we may not want others to see.

Theme
Accepting each other for who we are and who we will be—not who we once were.

Characters
Crandall, the snooty waiter
Betty
Loraine
(both women are approximately middle-aged or slightly younger)

Set
A small table covered with a white tablecloth and two chairs.

Props
Service for two
Menus
A purse or bag for each woman
Gift certificate
Pack of cigarettes and matches
Cheap, metallic brooch or pin
Food: tossed salad, fish with sauce, basket of rolls
Credit card

Wardrobe
Betty is immaculately dressed in a smart business suit. She is tastefully appointed, a woman of intelligence and good sense.

Loraine is dressed shabbily—not like a street person, but as someone who once knew better days, but is now down on her luck. Her clothes are clean, but almost worn out. She has tried to arrange her hair, put on her face, but hasn't done a very good job of it, and there's a run in her hose. She slouches when she walks, as if hoping no one will notice her.

Topics
Closets Women The Past Hypocrisy Church Forgiveness Wealth Poverty Divorce Adultery Drinking Problem Fancy Restaurant Waiter

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Going Home

7 minutes / 2 characters

Description
The Time: 39 days after the resurrection
The Place: Nazareth

James, brother of Jesus, is hard at work, struggling in vain to escape the recent turn of events. The death by crucifixion of his brother was difficult enough, but word of his resurrection has left James hopelessly confused and troubled.

Theme
Even though Jesus lived on this earth as a man, His real home is in heaven with the Father; if we are His followers, heaven is also our true home.

Production Notes
Some people have questioned the premise of this sketch; therefore, I have included below the scriptural basis for my license.

  • Matthew 13:54-58
  • Mark 3:21
  • John 7:3-5
  • 1 Corinthians 15:7
  • Galatians 2:7-9
  • The book of James

Characters
James, brother of Jesus
Christ Jesus

Props
James enters carrying a plane or saw; onstage is a rude support, upon which rests a roughly formed plank of wood.

Topics
Resurrection Going Home Jesus Christ James Brothers Belief Heaven The Father

Downloads
Dave
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None of That Matters

5-8 minutes / 2 characters

Description
Time: Today
Place: Anywhere

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Mr. Smith is at the end of his rope. An inveterate gambler and drunk, he is now out of money and out of hope. An incorrigible reprobate, he has reduced his wife and kids to a state of poverty. He is at his end. There is now nothing left for him. Mr. Smith is approached by a woman he believes to be an enforcer for the man to whom he owes more money than he can ever repay. Miss Jones is a stern and unflinching presence—but she is not there to punish Mr. Smith, but to offer him a hope and future far more valuable to him than anything he can imagine.

Theme
None of That Matters is a modern fable about God's grace. Whatever we have done, no matter what or who we are, no matter what we might do tomorrow, His grace is sufficient. This sketch was commissioned by the pastor to illustrate his Sunday morning message on Romans 4:1-12, but it will work just as well for any occasion in which the concept of God’s grace, through Christ, needs to be illustrated.

Set, Props
In keeping with most His Company scripts, None of That Matters is highly portable, requiring no set, or props beyond the checkbook carried by Miss Jones.

Characters
Mr. Smith: Daniel Smith, a reprobate.
Miss Jones: a representative of billionaire Silas T. Worthington.
[Note: The second character in this sketch could easily be played by a man.]

Wardrobe and Makeup
Miss Jones: a business suit
Mr. Smith: rumpled, perhaps torn clothes (e.g., jeans, sweatshirt). He should have a growth of unkempt beard, and it helps to redden his eyes—as if from either too little sleep, or too much alcohol.

Topics
None of That Matters Grace Forgiveness Mercy Drunk Gambler Reprobate Hit Man Hit Woman Romans 4 Rom. 4 Drinking Alcoholic

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Dave
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Only for a Time

4 minutes / 2 characters

Description
It is now time for Jesus to begin His ministry. He must be baptized by His cousin and leave home. But first He must bid good-bye to his mother, Mary.

This sketch is lifted from the Three-Act play, The Surrender.

Theme
Jesus' devotion to the Father and His commitment to His plan.

Characters
Mary, mother of Jesus
Christ Jesus

Topics
Only for a Time Mother of Jesus Mary Anger Disbelief Doubt Ministry Baptize God's Will John the Baptist Baptism

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Dave
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Standing in the Shadow

5 minutes / 2 characters

Description
Andrew and Rebekah are both younger than their brother, Simon Peter. Andrew is a calm, friendly person who enjoys bringing people to his master, Jesus. Rebekah is an easily excitable young woman who is having a difficult time understanding Andrew's humble servant heart and his deference to Peter.

Theme
Servanthood; evangelism.

Characters
Andrew
Rebekah

Topics
Standing in the Shadow Andrew Rebekah Peter Disciples Servanthood Evangelism Humility

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Dave
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The Butterfly

5 minutes / 2 characters

Description
On the island of Patmos, Naomi (wife of a local fisherman) brings news to the elderly apostle John that soldiers have arrived to escort him back to Ephesus. What follows is a scene laced with humor wherein the cantankerous apostle explains to Naomi how we all are transformed by the power of Jesus.

NAOMI (shaking her head): I can't picture it.
JOHN: My dear, you're forgetting: The caterpillar goes through the metamorphosis. There is a change. A cleansing from the ugliness of the old to the exquisite beauty of the new. We, too, went through a change. You could not walk with Jesus for three years without there being a change--a tangible change. You could not see His resurrection, His return to the Father without there being a change in your life. (turning; intensely) You cannot receive the Holy Spirit without change.
(from The Butterfly)

Theme
No matter what we used to be, Jesus can change us for His work.

Production Notes
This sketch is great fun because John is played very (very!) old, a bit absent-minded and given to random streams of consciousness. His costume should be a collection of dusty rags and cobwebs, multi-layered and he should appear just slightly younger than Methuselah. He should also have a tired, weathered look to him from being outside so much on Patmos.

Characters
The apostle John
Naomi, a fisherman's wife

Set/Props
"Rocks" for sitting.
A walking stick for John.
Naomi could be carrying a basket.

Topics
The Butterfly Apostle John Naomi Fresh Fish Sons of Thunder Metamorphosis Change Love The Twelve Belief Faith
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Dave
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The Fog

15 minutes / 2 characters

Description
Time: Today
Place: Central Park, New York City

A young business woman is on her way to a quick lunch with her fiance when suddenly she finds herself lost in a thick fog. Having no idea where she is, or why she is there, she happens upon a mysterious—sometimes irritating—stranger in Central Park. The man seems to persist in speaking in riddles, confounding the impatient woman—who only wishes to find her way out of the fog. Eventually, however, the woman comes to understand who the man is—and why he is there

Theme
The Fog is a modern fable about how easy it is for anyone to find themselves in a Spiritual fog, lost, and set apart from the One who, at one time, we used to know so well.

Set, Props
In keeping with most His Company scripts, The Fog is highly portable, requiring no set, or props beyond those carried in with the woman.

Characters
Woman - a harried business woman, dressed in a business suit, and carrying a leather briefcase and purse.
Man - a man at least a little older than the woman, dressed casually but neatly.

Topics
The Fog Business Woman Mystery Riddles Spiritually Dry God Holy Spirit New York Central Park Deli Fiance Busy

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Dave
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The Light

7 minutes / 4 characters

Description
The Light is a humorous Christmas sketch about the wise men. We happen upon them in the middle of their long journey—only to discover that not one of them falls into the neat, plastic category assigned them in our popular versions of the nativity. They are men of three distinct personalities—of which none is particularly agreeable. They have not yet completed their quest, so are not sure what lies at its end. They are opinionated, short-tempered, and badly in need of a referee.

This humorous sketch makes an excellent addition to any Christmas musical or longer play.

Theme
The true identity and purpose of the Messiah: "The 'light' that my people await is not illumination, but salvation. That is what the Messiah brings."

Characters
The three "wise" men:
Marsena is a skeptic and worrier, always fretting over the unknown.
Zethar is a mystic, speaking only in vague riddles or confusing epigrams.
Haman is an arrogant, pompous twit.
Their manservant, Hatach.

Production Notes
This sketch is intended to be used as a transitional piece in a larger production. By that we mean that it is not meant to stand alone, as a separate play, but to be used to help flesh out the wise men characters in a larger play or Christmas musical. For example, if the church is doing a musical drama that includes only a song for the wise men, or only a scene in which the wise men bring their gifts to the stable, this sketch could be inserted earlier in the production to add greater depth to their characters.

Set
The set requires a fire (fire ring), instructions for which are included in the script.

Props
Bags, walking sticks, etc.—appropriate for four men on a long journey.
Leather satchel
Several "old" scrolls

Topics
Wise Men Magi Christmas The Light Sketch Blindness Arrogance Mysticism Journey Trip Fire Travels Traveling Messiah Salvation Illumination

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Dave
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The Price

8 minutes / 2 characters

Description
The setting for this sketch is Genesis 22—specifically, 22:6-8.

Abraham took the wood of the burnt offering and laid it on Isaac his son, and he took in his hand the fire and the knife. So the two of them walked on together. Isaac spoke to Abraham his father and said, "My father!" And he said, "Here I am, my son." And he said, "Behold, the fire and the wood, but where is the lamb for the burnt offering?" Abraham said, "God will provide for Himself the lamb for the burnt offering, my son." So the two of them walked on together.

Abraham and his teenage son, Isaac, have traveled with servants and a donkey for about three days, from Beersheba to what would later be Jerusalem—the "land of Moriah." Now the two are on their own, climbing the mountain toward the place where they will erect a stone altar, lay the wood for the fire, and, according to God's command, sacrifice Isaac as a burnt offering.

Theme
The price of our obedience.

Characters
Abraham, about 115
Isaac, about 15

Props
Walking stick
Metal fire carrier
Large bundle of wood (small, narrow branches)
Length of twine to tie bundle (after Isaac has picked them up)
Two dark stones (flint and pyrite)
Water bag
Knife

Topics
Obedience Faith Sacrifice Abraham Isaac Genesis 22 Gen 22 The Price Fire Knife Altar Mt. Moriah Land of Moriah Lamb

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The Road

6 minutes / 2 characters

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Description
The Road is a companion piece to our popular one-act, The Fog. It was written to illustrate the exposition of Matthew 2:12-23—i.e., God sending us somewhere not of our choosing, even putting us through hard times, in order to accomplish His sovereign will.

Theme
a sketch about trusting God's will.

Characters
Woman (old enough to have a grown son)
Man (an adult of inconsequential, indeterminate age)

Set/Props
None are required; the setting of a typical church sanctuary is appropriate.

Wardrobe
Modern dress for attending a funeral or memorial service.

Topics
God's Will Trials Hard Times Direction Pain Sorrow Lordship Obedience Faith Trust Mother Jesus Christ Funeral Memorial Salvation Church

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Dave
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The Table Inside the Tree

8 minutes / 2 characters

Description
Joseph and his young wife are on the road from Nazareth down to Bethlehem. They have been traveling with the security and help of an organized caravan. But a few miles back the caravan and the couple parted company, and now they are on their own. During a pause in their journey Mary and Joseph discuss faith, trust, and whether anyone will even notice that "just another Jew" has been born. In the His Company tradition, The Table Inside the Tree is a quietly moving character piece that will stand on its own, or as part of a larger Christmas production.

Theme
Trust in God; "Seeing is believing"

Production Notes
The Table Inside the Tree is a versatile sketch that can stand alone—as an illustration in support of a pastor's message, choir anthem, or special music—or be integrated into a larger Christmas musical or play. If the latter, see as well our scripts The Light (magi), and Three Men and a Baby (shepherds).

Set/Props
A set would be okay, but is not necessary.

This sketch uses just a few props—the few belongings Mary and Joseph would have with them for their travels—and does not require an elaborate set. As with most His Company scripts, authentically attired, believable characters are more important—and more effective—than any accouterments.

Characters
Mary
Joseph

Topics
Joseph Mary Christmas Sketch Nativity Pregnant Bethlehem Nazareth Road Trust Faith Belief Believe God

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Dave
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The Train

5 minutes / 4 characters

Description
One of His Company's most popular scripts, The Train is a fable about stewardship. In it three passengers who are more accustomed to receiving pampered treatment find that they are expected to contribute their talents toward the "family" traveling together on the train.

This is a popular sketch with audiences—and pastors. It delivers a simple, direct message on stewardship—be it stewardship of our time, money or talents.

This sketch works best when it is played a bit "campy," with broadly drawn characters.

Theme
Stewardship; Family of God

Characters
Mrs. Shipley (middle-aged)
Miss Newelpost (younger)
Mr. Periwinkle (middle-aged)
Conductor (middle-aged)

Set
3 chairs, arranged with 2 on one side and 1 on the other with an "aisle" between.

Props
A business card for Mr. Periwinkle
"Brochure" and small (pocket) notebook for the Conductor

Wardrobe
Given the resources or unlimited budget, the dialogue and mannerisms of this sketch lend themselves to Victorian dress. But modern dress works well, too.

Topics
The Train Stewardship Family of God Father Holy Spirit Helping each Other Gifts Talents Giving Snobbery

Downloads
Dave
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There is the Joy

6 minutes / 2 characters

Description
There is the Joy is a brief sketch for a Palm Sunday service. It was commissioned to accompany a message on Matthew 21:1-11. As with most of our plays, it requires no set or props—except something on which the two characters can sit. Considering his advanced years, you might also wish to give the old man a walking stick.

This sketch is a simple, two-person dialogue between an old man and his (adult) daughter. It is from them that the disciples obtained the donkey and colt for Jesus. They then watch as the procession enters the city.

Theme
Ultimate joy—and salvation—is to be found in the person of Christ.

Production Notes
The director should give close attention to the direction from which Jesus' procession will enter, and the path it will take in front of the characters. There is, of course, no literal procession; all the audience sees are the old man and his daughter. But it is important that the two characters are always looking in the same direction when referencing Jesus and the other people.

Ideally, Jesus will approach from either stage left or stage right, down and in front of the stage. So the two characters should be looking at the same spot when He first approaches. Then, during the sketch, Jesus will pass in front of the stage—perhaps the line of sight might be just over the heads of the audience. In any case, the two characters must always appear to be looking at the same thing—in the same place—to make the audience believe.

Characters
A very old man
His adult daughter

Set/Props
No set is required, other than something for the two characters to sit on as they watch (and comment on) the procession.

A walking stick for the old man.

Wardrobe
Their dress should reflect their poverty.

Topics
Palm Sunday Procession Joy Salvation Jesus Donkey Colt Jerusalem Fool Elijah John the Baptist King Savior Hosanna Save Us

Downloads
Dave
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Three Men and a Baby

3 minutes / 3 characters

Description
This popular short sketch takes a fun, gently-comedic look at the Bethlehem shepherds. They have just heard the announcement from the angel, and are on their way to find the Christ child. They are befuddled—and just a little argumentative.

This sketch is easy to produce and is perfect for a light-hearted moment in a Christmas cantata or Sunday worship.

When using this to flesh-out a larger production, consider also our scripts The Light (magi), and The Table Inside the Tree (Mary & Joseph).

Characters
Three shepherds of any (but preferably mixed) age.

Set/Props
No set or props are required—although standard shepherd props would be appropriate.

Topics
Three Men and a Baby Christmas Shepherds Bethlehem Baby Angels Christ Child Sheep

Downloads
Dave
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To a New Life Born

10 minutes / 2 characters

Description
This sketch is a fleshing out of John 3, wherein Nicodemus has an audience with Jesus. The sketch ends (optionally) with Nicodemus singing If I Follow Jesus. (see below)

Music Information
If I Follow Jesus
Have I met Messiah? I want to believe,
but the other Pharisees tell me He's out to deceive.
Everything I've heard Him say and
all I've seen Him do, make it hard to doubt
that what His followers say is true.

CHORUS:
If I follow Jesus, what will the people say?
Will I be able to bear it
If my family turns away?
If I follow Jesus, the thought makes me afraid.
But my soul keeps crying:
Please don't turn away.

He wants a decision, but what am I to do?
Risk my life and reputation on what He says is true?
I don't know where He's going,
But He says that He's The Way.
And though it breaks my heart to leave,
I know that I can't stay.

(from The Old Rugged Cross by John Lee; words and music by David Baroni and Niles Borop)

Characters
Christ Jesus
Nicodemus

Topics
To a New Life Born John 3 Jesus Nicodemus Spirit Belief The Way Sacrifice Heaven Son of Man Son of God Father

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Dave
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Two Blocks Down, Then Take a Left: a Fable

5 minutes / 2 characters

Description
The Time: Yesterday
The Place: Just inside the Pearly Gates

The wife of the disciple James (the lesser) inquires as to the address of her previously deceased husband. Expecting him to be as anonymous in heaven as he was on earth, she is surprised to find he is, instead, one of heaven's leading citizens.

Theme
Not everyone in the Book of Life is a star. The ranks of those who have served the Lord are made up of the anonymous as well as the famous. And the Father has a very special love for those who keep plugging when no one notices their labors.

ANGEL: James didn't receive much glory while he was on earth?
WOMAN: Glory? They forgot he existed!
ANGEL (leaning forward): God didn't. (pause) And now James has been paid in full. He now has all the glory that others received while they were on earth. The difference is, their glory came from men; James' glory is from the Father--in person.
(from Two Blocks Down...)

Characters
Angel
Wife of James

Set/Props
Small table and stool
Very large, impressive book
Stylus

Topics
Two Blocks Down, Then Take a Left: a Fable Angel Heaven James Book Gifts Service Servanthood Belief Eternity

Downloads
Dave
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Vision Beyond the Eyes

4 minutes / 2 characters

Description
Jesus said, "Blessed are they who did not see, and yet believed."
On the road out of Jerusalem, Nathanael meets a pilgrim seeking Jesus. She doesn't know Jesus has already returned to the Father. What she also doesn't know is that the gift she seeks is already within her: Faith without seeing.

Theme
Blind faith

Characters
The disciple, Nathanael
Blind woman
Note: Technically, in this time and place, it would have been unseemly for a man to have a conversation with a non-family woman in this way (which is why Jesus speaking with the woman at the well was so scandalous). But the disciple sketches were originally written for the His Company actors—some of which were women!
If you wish, the second character could just as easily be played by a man.

Props
Walking stick and water bag for Nathanael
"Blind stick" for woman

Topics
Vision Beyond the Eyes Nathanael Blind Woman Faith Without Seeing Road Traveling Disappointment Jesus Healing Sight

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Dave
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