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SONGS OF THE HEART

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Actors
The cast calls for eighteen speaking parts, though many can be combined, so that a group of eight to ten can just as easily present the drama. There is no need for elaborate costumes or props. Small items, such as horn-rimmed glasses for the Brain and a muscle T-shirt for the Enforcer, are sufficient to develop individual roles. The Director, John Newton, and the Messenger can be played by adults if necessary. In fact, the Director might most naturally be played by the actual choir director at your church. Adapt the script as necessary and use the real names of people in your group when appropriate.
Besides the dialogue, you will need to sing four hymns: “Amazing Grace,” “It Is Well with My Soul,” “Just As I Am,” and “I Have Decided to Follow Jesus.”
Characters: Choir Director
John Newton
Messenger
Class Clown
Brain
Enforcer
Mediator
Youth Youth Youth Youth Youth Youth Youth Youth Singer Singer Speaker

Action
Scene Director: Wait a minute! Hold everything! That’s the worst singing I’ve ever heard. We’re supposed to be singing about amazing grace, but you all sound bored to tears. Let’s try it again and get it right this time. Put some enthusiasm into your voices.

Messenger: (Messenger enters from the rear and calls out to the Director.) (Director’s name), you’ve got a phone call. I told them you were busy, but they said it was kinda important, so I put them on hold.

Director: O.K., tell them I’ll be right there. (turning to the choir) Now look, you guys, I’ve got to go answer the phone. I’m going to leave (Enforcer’s name), in charge. (general grumbling by the rest of the youth) I want you to practice this song while I’m gone. I’m expecting some major improvement by the time I return.

Enforcer: (Director leaves and Enforcer steps forward.) O.K., everyone, you heard what the man said. I’m in charge! Now we’re going to sing this song and we’re going to sing it right.

Clown: (stepping to the front while the Enforcer moves back in place) That’s right gang. Let’s all sing this song, but let’s do it the way I taught you. All together now, in the key of G.

Brain: Excuse me, but you seem to have made a mistake! We never sing “Amazing Grace” in the key of C. In fact— (interrupted)

Youth
Clown: (humming a pitch for choir and motioning with his arms) All together now! (Choir sings through first verse of “Amazing Grace” to the tune of “Gilligan’s Island.” When they start the second verse, they are interrupted by Newton.)

Newton: (from a seat in the audience) Wait a minute! That’s not the way that song is supposed to be sung.

Youth
Newton: Yes, but you’re still doing it all wrong.

Clown: Well, isn’t that the way Gilligan would have sung it?

Youth
Clown: Why don’t you two be quiet and listen to the man!

Newton: Listen! You’re missing the point. Sure, those are the right words, but even if you were singing the right tune, you would still be singing the song all wrong.

Brain: Now wait a minute. That’s completely illogical! If we were to put that in the form of a syllogism we— (interrupted)

Youth
Newton: I did!

Youth
Clown: (looks to the audience and begins to circle the side of his head with his finger, signifying that Newton is crazy)

Newton: Listen! My name is John Newton and I wrote the song that you guys are not singing. I say you’re not singing it because you’ve left out the most important part. You see, when I wrote that song, I meant it to be an expression of my faith and commitment to God. His grace was truly amazing to me. When I sang that song, it was a way of worship, but when you sing it, you don’t seem to give a thought to what you’re actually saying. My song has lasted all these years because it expresses the gratitude of the countless people who sing it. So you see, though you sing the right words and keep my tune, unless you sing my song from your heart to God, you’re not really singing it the way I had hoped it would always be sung.

Scene
Director: Well guys, I’m sorry for that short delay. I hope you’ve practiced the song and you’re ready to give it your best effort. (Director motions for all to stand properly.
The choir reacts silently and sings “Amazing Grace” soulfully.)

Director: Now that’s more like it! I don’t know what inspired you guys, but let’s keep up the good work. (pause) Now, let’s sing our second song “It Is Well with My Soul.”

Youth
(Director’s name)

Director: Well not exactly. Actually— (interrupted)

Brain: As a point of fact, (looking to Director) if I may be so bold, (Director nods approval) that song was written by Horatio C. Spafford— (interrupted)

Clown: (looking to audience) Oh Horatio, are you out there?

Brain: (with disgusted look on his face) As I was saying, that song was written by Mr. Spafford while standing aboard a ship that had arrived at the location where Mr. Spafford’s two daughters drowned just days before his arrival. As he looked down into the water, in the midst of his sorrow, he was inspired to write “It is Well with My Soul.”

Youth
Director: Yes, it is true. Perhaps that’s one of the reasons why that song has meant so much to so many people. Understanding why a song was written can really help you appreciate it. Don’t you agree? (general agreement)

Director: Well then, let’s give this song a try. (Director motions with his arms, and the choir sings three verses of “It is Well with My Soul.”)

Youth
Director: Sure, lots of them do. In fact, the song we’re going to sing next has an interesting story. Does anyone know the story behind “Just as I Am”?

Brain: I do!

Clown: Anybody else?

Enforcer: Pipe down and listen to the man.

Mediator: Easy you two! Let’s not forget why we’re here in the first place.

Director: That’s right! (Brain’s name), go ahead and tell us about “Just As I Am.”

Brain: Well, O.K. The song was written by a woman named Charlotte Elliott. She was badly crippled and struggled with a tremendous feeling of self-worthlessness. Well, one day a preacher talked to her and told her that God loved her just as she was.

Youth
Director: That’s right. Now let’s sing it. (Choir sings “Just As I Am.”)

Youth
Youth
Enforcer: We get the point!

Youth
Youth
Youth
Youth
Clown: Are you suggesting we sing, “Sit Down, Sit Down for Jesus”?

Youth
Mediator: Personally, I don’t really mind standing while singing that song. I think of it as sorta acting out the ideas of the song. Though sometimes I feel like a hypocrite because I know I don’t always stand up for Jesus like I should.

Youth
Youth
Director: I don’t really know, but I’m sure our careless and thoughtless approach to our singing can’t be the kind of worship that God wants. I’m certain it’s not what he deserves!

Enforcer: That’s right! What’s even worse though is the way some of the people in this youth group act while they’re supposed to be singing. Just last Sunday I was sitting in the back and I heard two “young people” talking during the invitation hymn. We had just finished the first verse when… (Voice fades and lights black out to set up for upcoming skit.)

Scene
Singer
Singer
Singer
Singer
Singer
Singer
Singer
Singer
Singer
Singer
Enforcer: Frankly, I was shocked! I— (interrupted)

Mediator: If the truth were known, I guess we’ve all been more than a little careless in our worship. I don’t think we’ve really stopped to think how important it is to God that we worship him wholeheartedly—not just when we’re singing, but in every part of our lives. I remember hearing in Bible school that the ideas of worship and service both often come from the same word in the Bible. Our entire lives should be lived worshipfully and as a servant. I just pray that God will help all of us be more sincere and consistent in every part of our lives.

Speaker: (closing remarks to audience) Every Sunday we come here to this building and sing songs of worship and praise. Some of the songs we sing were written by men and women of faith who suffered greatly; others were written by those who sought to express their devotion to God and to their Savior; still others were written to teach or encourage the church. These “Great Hymns of the Faith” have not lasted so long because of their witty lyrics or elaborate tunes, but because they express the heart of a people driven to worship by the majesty of their God.
When we lift our voices to sing, we must never forget to whom we are singing. We must not simply echo thoughtless phrases mastered during childhood or painfully render a half-hearted effort while longing for the song to end. We are not just singing; we are worshiping. In worship your attitude counts! Your words should rise up from you as a musical prayer or as a powerful declaration of what you hold to be true. For great is our Lord and greatly to be praised!

Categories: Youth

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