My Cross: Presentation Notes

Running length approx. 14 minutes
Props: One medium-sized stone that would be good for skipping.

Timing options for the liturgical seasons, if done in a church setting:

Notes on presentation/delivery if used in drama, for those of you who can't catch several original performances first or work with Ben directly (to get all the "beats"):

This monologue starts off in a very friendly, excited, and informal tone, two friends catching up on old business. The actor should not look at the audience when talking directly to Chris in the opening and closing, but instead to an imaginary friend. As the main character tells his story, he becomes more serious and emotionally involved. The crowd scene is an especially good vehicle for building emotion- the character goes from a somewhat passive perspective to yelling in rage in a short period of skit-time. By the time the stone is skipped, he is in incredibly intense grief and close to tears. This is where the message becomes more personal to each audience member and holds the key to the climax and heart of the drama.

The actor should be someone not involved in another part of the worship service, and not the worship leader. If it were, that person would have to step into and then step out of character, and though it is clear that the drama is fictional by itself, it does have some true aspects in meaning, and it is a little confusing and takes away some meaning to have that same person act like the drama and character were not as real or as meaningful as they just were.

The dashing/skipping of the stone against/across the ground following the first pair of “Crucify Him” shouts which include the character commands the immediate attention of the audience and puts a sharp point on the message here. It also causes the skit introduction and build-up to that point to instantly flash across the audience members’ minds, effectively tying the whole thing together. (Single quotes at the beginning of paragraphs serve this purpose in the written version.) Before this point, the stone should be kind of played with in the hands, used in gesturing to show more of the character’s emotion. It can also be helpful in the yelling crowd scenes, where the character can shake the stone in anger as if part of the crowd.

The second-to-last paragraph (“The next day was the Sabbath…saving grace that was!”) is OPTIONAL and should be cut if the skit is used for Good Friday. If continuing, give a decently long pause to make the audience wonder “Is that it? Is the story over? Where does it continue from here?” If not continuing here, pause for a moment and then walk “off stage.” The story continues on Easter morning.

Suggested Music 1: “How Deep The Father’s Love For Us” by Stuart Townend

How deep the Father’s love for us,
How vast beyond all measure,
That He should give His only Son
to make a wretch His treasure!

How great the pain of searing loss;
the Father turns His face away,
As wounds which mar the Chosen One
bring many sons to glory.

Behold the Man upon the cross,
my sin upon His shoulders;
Ashamed, I hear my mocking voice
call out among the scoffers.

It was my sin that held Him there
until it was accomplished;
His dying breath has brought me life—
I know that it is finished.

I will not boast in anything,
no gifts, no power, no wisdom;
But I will boast in Jesus Christ,
His death and resurrection.

Why should I gain from His reward?
I cannot give an answer.
But this I know with all my heart:
His wounds have paid my ransom.

© 1995 Kingsway’s Thankyou Music.
Interview: The story behind this song.

Suggested Music 2: “On My Cross” by Jeromy Deibler, FFH

How wide is Your love, that You would stretch your arms and go around the world?
And why for me would a Savior’s cry be heard?
I don’t know why you went where I was meant to go.
I don’t know why You love me so.

Those were my nails, that was my crown that pierced Your hands and Your brow.
Those were my thorns, those were my scorns, those were my tears that fell down.
And just like You said it would be, You did it all for me.
And after You counted the cost, You took my shame, my blame on my cross.

How deep is Your grace, that You could see my need and chose to take my place?
And then for me these words I’d hear You say?
“Father, no, forgive them for they know not what they do.
I will go because I love them so.” (Chorus 2x)
And after You counted the cost, You took my shame, my blame on my cross, on my cross.

© 2001 New Spring Publishing, Inc (ASCAP), a division of Brentwood-Benson Music Publishing, Inc.

Suggested Music 3: “Why” by Nichole Nordeman

We rode into town the other day
Just me and my Daddy
He said I'd finally reached that age
And I could ride next to him on a horse
That of course was not quite as wide

We heard a crowd of people shouting
And so we stopped to find out why
And there was that man
That my dad said he loved
But today there was fear in his eyes

So I said "Daddy, why are they screaming?
Why are the faces of some of them beaming?
Why is He dressed in that bright purple robe?
I'll bet that crown hurts Him more than He shows
Daddy, please can't you do something?
He looks as though He's gonna cry
you said he was stronger than all of those guys
Daddy, please tell me why
Why does everyone want him to die?"

Later that day the sky grew cloudy
And Daddy said I should go inside
Somehow he knew things would get stormy
Boy was he right
But I could not keep from wondering
If there was something he had to hide

So after he left I had to find out
I was not afraid of getting lost
So I followed the crowds
To a hill where I knew men had been killed
And I heard a voice come from the cross

And it said, "Father, why are they screaming?
Why are the faces of some of them beaming?
Why are they casting their lots for My robe?
This crown of thorns hurts Me more than it shows
Father, please can't You do something?
I know that You must hear My cry
I thought I could handle the cross of this size
Father, remind Me why
Why does everyone want Me to die?
When will I understand why?"

"My precious Son, I hear them screaming
I'm watching the face of the enemy beaming
But soon I will clothe You in robes of My own
Jesus, this hurts Me much more than You know
But this dark hour I must do nothing
Though I've heard Your unbearable cry
The power in Your blood destroys all of the lies
Soon You'll see past their unmerciful eyes
Look there below, see the child
Trembling by her father's side
Now I can tell You why
She is why You must die"

Suggested Music 4: “Crown of Thorns” by Danielle Rose

My seed was born one bright spring morn
In gardens grown by God.
Out of the earth my stem gave birth
To petals red as blood.

The gentle rain my growth sustained,
And like each seed God sows,
I dreamed one day that I'd be named
A king's most precious rose.

One day a soldier bent me over,
Tore me from my bed.
All beaten, battered, my stem tattered,
Wanted not but dead.

In cruel hands gripped, my beauty stripped,
'Twas not the dream I chose,
And filled with shame, I wept in pain,
No more a precious rose.

Then I did see the soldiers lead
A man through palace doors.
Was this my king? Why did they bring
Him in, this man so poor?

A purple garment hid the torment
None but I could see.
They mocked and laughed, gave him a staff,
And bowed on bended knee.

They bent me round and wove a crown
And placed me on his head.
My petals found crushed on the ground,
Like tears of God turned red.

With each small sin I was pressed in.
I pierced with self-disdain.
In thought and deed I made him bleed,
My selfishness, his pain.

"Behold!" they'd sing, "Behold your King!
Hail, King of the Jews!"
With each reed's blow, our pain did grow,
As one we are abused.

Despite the crown he did not frown;
He smiled with love instead,
And carried me for all to see
Upon his tender head.

Once placed with awe in manger straw,
Anointed by John's hands,
Transfigured on a mountain dawn,
Now wore a mangled branch.

Once gently kissed by Mary's lips,
And blessed with magi's myrrh,
Baptized by a parting sky,
Now streamed with blood so pure.

An innocent brow calls to us now
To follow this example:
To let our thorns and all that scorns
Be healed within his temple.

Though dreams may fade, each one was made
In seed that Jesus sows.
And now I see I'm called to be
The King's most precious rose.

Suggested Music 5: They Hung Him on A Cross
(also known as "He Never Said a Mumblin' Word")

1. They hung Him on a cross
They hung Him on a cross
They hung Him on a cross
For me
One day when I was lost (so lost)
They hung Him on a cross (oh yeah)
They hung Him on a cross for me

2. They whipped Him up the hill
They whipped Him up the hill
They whipped Him up the hill
For me
One day when I was lost (so lost)
They hung Him on a cross (oh yeah)
They whipped Him up the hill for me

3. They speared Him in the side...
4. Then, he hung His head and died...
5. Triumphant was his cry...
6. They laid Him in a tomb...
7. He rose on Easter morn...

Can combine vs. 2/3/4 and 5/6/7 for brevity and/or repeat first verse at the end if desired.
There are many variants on this song, any of which can be used as appropriate.
The tune is here.

American folk song.
Published by Songs and Creations, Inc, among other sources.

Copyright Notice to accompany skit script:
©2006 W. Ben Towne. All rights reserved, except:

You may give live performances of this script, including modified versions.
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