A Little Easter Season Fun

The Question is this: What if — instead of prophets, poets, apostles and evangelists — God decided to employ the talents of a team of writers of the sort that a popular sketch comedy show might use?

With Apologies to the back room denizens of Saturday Night Live, we offered this in place of a sermon on a recent Sunday.

B EASTER 5
EMMANUEL CHURCH, BEL AIR
3 May 2015

10:00 AM Service: Thanks to Andrea, Wally, Sarah & Tim

 

Noon Service: Thanks to Katie, Dot, Mark & Brent

FADE IN:
SCENE 1: THE MEETING
Four writers for “Saturday Night Live” assemble in the Writer’s Room.

WRITER 1 (SARAH SCHNEIDER, WRITING SUPERVISOR)
So I hear Lorne Michaels sent out a memo about sketch ideas.

WRITER 2 (CLAIRE MULANEY)
What memo? I’ve had my email open all morning and I never saw it.

WRITER 3 (MICHAEL CHE)
Wasn’t an email. He tweeted it, along with an Instagram of his lunch. By my count that’s 134 consecutive blueberry yogurts next to a sliced Kiwi.

WRITER 2 (CLAIRE)
I always wondered what that green stuff was under his fingernails.

WRITER 4 (CHRIS KELLY, HEAD WRITER)
So help me figure this out. He says that everyone watches the opening bit, but if they don’t see someone or something they identify with, they turn it off, especially minority viewers.

WRITER 1 (SARAH)
We keep a list of them don’t we? Who’s on it these days?

WRITER 3 (MICHAEL)
We know were solid with Anglo viewers and older African Americans – still waiting for the second coming of Garrett Morris. Age, sex and financial demographics are still working.

WRITER 2 (CLAIRE)
Here it is: Christians, especially fundamentalists; Eastern Europeans, Africans …

WRITER 4 (CHRIS)
You mean, like, from Africa, like immigrants?

WRITER 2 (CLAIRE)
Yeah, like from Sudan or Nigeria. Anyway, we’re also not doing well with Arabs.

WRITER 3 (MICHAEL)
That doesn’t mean the radical Muslims – they love us! It’s the rest of them. You know a lot of them are Christians or Jews.

WRITER 4 (CHRIS)
Okay. Casting first. We haven’t got any Africans in the crew. Can Kenan do a decent accent?

WRITER 1 (SARAH)
He can do voices. They’re not authentic, but they’re funny as all get out.

WRITER 2 (CLAIRE)
Pete does a pretty good mash up of Middle Eastern voices. We can ask him to Greek it up a bit.

WRITER 3(MICHAEL)
Good. That’s what we’re looking for.

WRITER 4(CHRIS)
Okay, so what’s the prop? What are we going to use to create some drama?

WRITER 3 (MICHAEL)
It’s got to be, like, a bible or something. Like, he’s sitting a reading from the Bible.

WRITER 2 (CLAIRE)
Nobody does books anymore; he’s got to be listening.

WRITER 1 (SARAH)
And nobody sits still anymore. Maybe he’s driving somewhere.

WRITER 3 (MICHAEL)
Yeah, driving. We’ve got some good stock footage of the highway from LA to Las Vegas. We can put him in a convertible driving to Vegas.

WRITER 4 (CHRIS)
Put him in something flashy and ostentatious. Does Cadillac make convertibles anymore?

WRITER 1 (SARAH)
Let me check my phone. … Yeah, they do again. It’s called the ATS.

WRITER 2 (CLAIRE)
So, driving down the road, Cadillac convertible, top down, listening to the Bible, like books on tape.

WRITER 4 (CHRIS)
More like a podcast these days. Or Rap. I hear there are a lotta books done over in Rap. Can we get a Rap bible?

WRITER 1 (SARAH)
What’s he listening to, like which book of the Bible?

WRITER 3 (MICHAEL)
What’s the book you always hear at weddings? Corinthian-leather something or other?

WRITER 2 (CLAIRE)
No. Let’s choose something from the Old Testament. That way we keep everybody happy, not just the Christians.

WRITER 4 (CHRIS)
Let’s go with Isaiah. I think he gets a nod in the Koran even.

WRITER 3 (MICHAEL)
So the scene is a black man …

WRITER 1 (SARAH)
… From Africa … where in Africa?

WRITER 4 (CHRIS)
Is there any country in Africa not in, like, some Ebola outbreak, or civil war or terrorist conflict?

WRITER 2 (CLAIRE)
Ethiopia maybe? Yeah, I think Ethiopia is good all around.

WRITER 3 (MICHAEL)
So a black man from Ethiopia is driving to Vegas in a tricked out Cadillac ATS and listening to a podcast of the book of Isaiah.

WRITER 1 (SARAH)
And he’s like groovin’ it and gettin’ into it …

WRITER 2 (CLAIRE)
Or maybe he’s not getting it. Maybe he needs some help, especially if he’s from Ethiopia and it’s in rap.

WRITER 4 (CHRIS)
Aren’t there a lot of secret government sites on that road? Didn’t they test a lot of nukes or seal off some UFO landings near there?

WRITER 2 (CLAIRE)
That’s it. He’s not getting it, and suddenly an alien beams down to the road. And he stops the car and the alien says, “Nice ride,” and then “whatcha’ doing?” And, like, they start talking about Isaiah and the Alien explains the rap.

WRITER 3 (MICHAEL)
And the alien gets in the car and they drive along listening and figuring it all out.

WRITER 1 (SARAH)
Here’s a bit you can insert. The phone rings and the Ethiopian answers and we hear him say, “Yes Queen,” “Yes, Queen” a couple of times. And then, “Yes, Queen. My security clearance is still ‘Top Secret.’

WRITER 4 (CHRIS)
So, who’s the Queen? Is there a queen in Ethiopia?

WRITER 1 (SARAH)
No, it’s Queen Latifa! He can be, like, her finance manager or something. And she’s calling to kid him about being close to those test sites and stuff.

WRITER 3 (MICHAEL)
So they’re still driving along and the Ethiopian is getting it. Then what?

WRITER 2 (CLAIRE)
He wants in. The Ethiopian wants to sign up, to get with the program.

WRITER 4 (CHRIS)
I know that Christians have baptism. But if we do something with that, won’t we offend someone else?

WRITER 2 (CLAIRE)
No, Jews and Muslims and a lot of other people have washing rituals. I think people will get it.

WRITER 3 (MICHAEL)
So where does the water come from? It’s like all desert past Palm Springs to Las Vegas.

WRITER 1 (SARAH) AND WRITER 4 (CHRIS) – AT THE SAME TIME
Golf Course!

WRITER 4 (CHRIS)
About 30 miles west of Vegas. The Oasis Golf Club. Water hazard near the 8th green right by the highway.

WRITER 3 (MICHAEL)
They jump out the car, splash some water around, dance around for a couple of beats and then what?

WRITER 2 (CLAIRE)
We’re at, like, almost five minutes into the bit. We’d better wrap it up quickly.

WRITER 4 (CHRIS)
They go back to the car, share some secret handshake, and the Ethiopian heads east to Vegas.

WRITER 2 (CLAIRE)
And the alien goes back up the same way he came. “Beam me up, Scotty.”

WRITER 1 (SARAH)
And the Ethiopian can smile and say, “Still Top Secret.”

WRITER 4 (CHRIS)
I think we got it. Big Cadillac, desert road, alien popping in and out, and Queen Latifa happy with her manager.

WRITER 3 (MICHAEL)
Only one thing left …

ALL WRITERS TOGETHER
“Live, from Bel Air: It’s Sunday Morning!”
Or
“Live, from Bel Air: It’s Sunday Afternoon!”

FADE OUT:

The Announcer, calmly, reads the text from Acts 8:26-40.

An angel of the Lord said to Philip, “Get up and go toward the south to the road that goes down from Jerusalem to Gaza.” (This is a wilderness road.) So he got up and went. Now there was an Ethiopian eunuch, a court official of the Candace, queen of the Ethiopians, in charge of her entire treasury. He had come to Jerusalem to worship and was returning home; seated in his chariot, he was reading the prophet Isaiah. Then the Spirit said to Philip, “Go over to this chariot and join it.” So Philip ran up to it and heard him reading the prophet Isaiah. He asked, “Do you understand what you are reading?” He replied, “How can I, unless someone guides me?” And he invited Philip to get in and sit beside him. Now the passage of the scripture that he was reading was this:
“Like a sheep he was led to the slaughter, and like a lamb silent before its shearer, so he does not open his mouth. In his humiliation justice was denied him. Who can describe his generation? For his life is taken away from the earth.”
The eunuch asked Philip, “About whom, may I ask you, does the prophet say this, about himself or about someone else?” Then Philip began to speak, and starting with this scripture, he proclaimed to him the good news about Jesus. As they were going along the road, they came to some water; and the eunuch said, “Look, here is water! What is to prevent me from being baptized?” He commanded the chariot to stop, and both of them, Philip and the eunuch, went down into the water, and Philip baptized him. When they came up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord snatched Philip away; the eunuch saw him no more, and went on his way rejoicing. But Philip found himself at Azotus, and as he was passing through the region, he proclaimed the good news to all the towns until he came to Caesarea.
THE END

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