In 2016, I went to the European Conference of Christian Educators, where I saw Bibliologue storytelling done with chairs – you can find a short summary here.
I then used it when I did Prodigal Son prayer stations with Readers a few weeks ago – you can find a write-up of that here.
Now John Griffiths and Jonathan Evans, of St Cuthbert’s Church in Rye Park, have done a script using the image of a mother and two daughters, and given me permission to share it. They used it in worship on Mothering Sunday.
Note how most of it is simply the Biblical text, with a few small changes – and how the story is stopped at different points to wonder about how characters are feeling at that specific moment. By focusing on each section of the story individually, you might draw out details that would get missed if you saved up the wondering until the end. (However, for some people, it might interrupt the flow of the story, and they would get more by waiting until the end for wondering. This is why mixing up different approaches can be good.)
The Prodigal Daughter
Place three chairs by the steps of the sanctuary carpet. One larger and two smaller and say:
There once was a woman who had two daughters.
Move the ‘younger daughter’ (i.e. a smaller chair) over in front of the mother’s chair.
The younger daughter said to her mother, “Give me my inheritance NOW
so that I can enjoy it.”
So the mother divided her property between them.
Move the ‘younger daughter’ a little way along the road.
Place the mother in the centre.
Move the ‘older sister’ off to the side (almost out of the scene).
move to the younger daughter chair and say
The younger daughter gathered all she had and travelled to a distant country
She spent her money on wild parties and having a really REALLY good time.
Move the ‘younger daughter’ towards the ‘end of the road’ (top of the central aisle)
I wonder. What is the Mother thinking?
I wonder. What is her older sister thinking?
But the day came when she had spent all the money her mother had given her and she had nothing left.
Turn the daughter’s chair onto its side.
There was a severe famine in that country and she was hungry and poor.
So she went and hired herself out. To a pig farmer. Who made her look after pigs.
She was so hungry that she would have been grateful if she was allowed to eat what the pigs were eating; but no one gave her anything.
Then she came to her senses, she said to herself
“All my mum’s maids have plenty to eat, but here I am dying of hunger!
I wonder What is the younger daughter thinking?
I know what I’ll do. I will go to my mother, and I will say to her, “Mother, I have sinned against heaven and before you; I am no longer worthy to be called your daughter; could you give me a job around the house?”
Move the daughter on the road towards the other two chairs
So she set off to return to her mother.
Move the mother down the road towards the daughter, say:
While she was still far off, her mother saw her and was filled with compassion;
Her mother ran and put her arms around her and kissed her.
Move both the mother and daughter close to one another at the bottom of the aisle say:
Her daughter said to her, “Mother, I have sinned against you;
I am no longer worthy to be your daughter.”
But the mother said to the staff, “Quickly, bring a dress – my very best one – and put it on her; put a ring on her finger and my favourite shoes.
Remember her favourite meal? – go and make it, and let’s eat and celebrate;
for my daughter was dead and is alive again; she was lost and is found!”
And they all began to celebrate.
Move the mother and daughter’s to the centre of the sanctuary blue carpet
When the elder daughter came home, she heard music and dancing.
She called one of the maids and asked what was going on.
The maid replied, “Your sister has come home, and your mother has made her favourite because she got her back safe and sound.”
But the older daughter became angry and refused to go in.
What is the older daughter thinking?
What is the mother thinking?
Move the mother to the back of the carpet in front of the elder daughter, say:
Her mother came out and began to plead with her.
Twist away the elder sister and say
She said to her mother, “Listen! For all these years I have been slaving away for you, and I have never disobeyed you in anything; yet you have never given me a single night in with my friends. But when young madam went off and played the tart and wasted all your money comes back. YOU treat her like a princess!
Move to the Mother chair, and say
The mother said to her, “Oh Darling, you are always with me, and everything that is mine is yours. But we had to celebrate, because your sister was dead and has come to life; she was lost and now she’s found.”
What was your favourite part of the story?
What was the most important part of the story?
Which person in the story did you most connect with?