Easter Vigil Play: the Tale of the Three Trees
Narrator #1: God works in mysterious ways. Sometimes, we don’t know what God has planned for us, and when things don’t work out, we get frustrated. Or when life does work out, we forget in our celebration that God had a part from the start.
Narrator #2: But in Easter, God reveals the greatest mystery of all. Easter teaches us the lesson of eternal life in the story of the resurrection of Jesus. Now, it hasn’t been an easy journey to get here. It’s been full of twists and turns.
Narrator#3: There have been heartwarming moments – like the disciples first choosing to follow Jesus by the sea of Galilee.
Narrator #4: And we have had dangerous plot twists – like the Devil tempting Jesus in the dessert, to use his power for wishes other than what God intended.
Narrator #1: And of course, the unexpected betrayals – like when the disciples stayed silent when Jesus was seized and sentenced.
Narrator #3: But now, we have a true ending: Redemption and Resurrection, as God turns everything upside down, and reveals the true nature of the path of Jesus.
Narrator #4: So God’s ways are truly mysterious, and to tell the story so that we can remember it always in our hearts, let us listen to the Tale of the Three Trees. You have heard it before, but there’s a reason this story has lasted so long, and is told so often: its message speaks to the truth of God.
Narrator #2: Our story then begins on a mountain, where three trees stand tall and strong and full of dreams….
(Three younger children come forward, holding a branch to represent a tree, with a senior youth who will read the lines.)
Tree #1: What will I be when I grow up? Look at the stars, dear friends, that is my inspiration. See how they glitter like jewels. That is my dream: I will be the most beautiful treasure chest in the world.
Tree #2: What is my dream? If I stretch my branches high enough, I can just see the ocean, glistening in the sun, stretching on forever. I would be a strong and graceful sailing ship. I will sail the mighty sea.
Tree #3: I have just a simple dream. A dream fit for a tree. I will stay here, on our mountain and my branches will reach to heaven. And everyone who sits in my shade will reflect on the goodness of God.
Narrator #3: They were all worthy dreams, and the trees spoke of them often. Until one day, three woodcutters climbed the mountain.
Woodcutter: This tree is beautiful. It is perfect for me.
Narrator #2: And he swung his axe and chopped down the tree. (The child holding the tree steps backwards.)
Tree #1: Now I shall become a treasure chest!
Woodcutter #2: This tree is strong. It is perfect for me.
Narrator #3: And he swung his axe and chopped down the tree. (The child holding the tree steps backwards.)
Tree #2: Goodbye friends. I am off to become a mighty sailing ship.
Woodcutter #3: I don’t care what kind of tree I get. This one will have to do.
Narrator #4: And he swung his axe and chopped down the tree. (The child holding the tree steps backwards.)
Tree #3: But wait…All I wanted to do was stay on this mountain and help people think of God.
Narrator #4: And so the trees went their individual ways, as all of us must. The first tree rejoiced when she arrived in a carpenter’s shop. But there were no treasure chest being made that day. Instead, the tree became a feed box for animals. (A child steps forward with the manger)
Narrator #1: The second tree made it to the ocean. But there were no mighty sailing ships being made that day. Instead, boat builders fashioned him into a simple fishing boat. (A child steps forward with a boat.)
Narrator #2: As for the second tree, she was cut into lumber and left on a pile.
Narrator #3: Many long days and night passed, and the trees nearly forgot their dreams. But remember, we said God works in a mysterious ways…
Narrator: 4: One night, a young couple arrived at the stable, because there was no where else for them to stay. And there among the animals, a baby was born and placed in the feed box. And as all the animals and shepherds gathered around, the tree was filled with joy. (The child holding the manger should hold it up.)
Tree #1: I am holding treasure after all. The greatest treasure in the world – the gift of a leader who will guide people to a new way, a better way to live and love God.
Narrator #1: One afternoon, a group of fishermen set out to sea, with a new member of their crew, who promptly fell asleep. A horrible storm whipped up, and the tree thought that he would surely sink. But the man rose from his sleep. Peace, he said, calmed the seas. (The child holding the boat should hold it up.)
Tree #2: Look how the ocean obeys him. And the people follow him. I may be just a simple fishing vessel, but now I see that I carry something mightier than any sailing ship might hope to carry. I am carrying the King of Heaven and Earth.
Narrator #3: One day, the third tree was pulled roughly from her pile, and hammered into a cross. A man was nailed to that cross and forced to carry her up a hill, not unlike her old mountain. The tree shuddered to think what she had become.
Narrator #1: But the next day, the sun rose, and the earth trembled with joy, and the third tree knew that God had made everything right. (Child holding the cross should lift it up.)
Tree #3: My dream has come true after all. Every time people think of me, they will think of God.
Narrator #1: And that was better then being the tallest tree in the world.
Narrator #2: So it is for all of us – God works in surprising and unexpected ways. The story of Easter is that our mistakes are forgiven and we are given a new day – each and every day. But we should also remember – when dreams seem far away – that God has a plan for each one of us.
Narrator #3: And it is a Good plan.
Everyone: Rejoice and spread the Good news. Christ is risen indeed. Alleluia!
This play was written by Rev Joel Crouse adapted from the Tale of Three Trees (author unknown) to be used as a devotional tool for Easter Vigil 2012. Use with permission.