A Play in One Act

smoke.jpg

PROLOG (given by a narrator)

We have all been told that in the hereafter there will be those who arrive in heaven without having heard the gospel message. This is a story about one such woman. She had lived her entire life in an isolated area of the country, an area that certain believers fled to in the final days of earth’s history. As our story opens the woman, Mary Jane, is sitting on her front porch, smoking a cigarette and worrying about some folks she had sheltered just the night before. She hears dogs baying in the distance and knows it will not be long until the authorities passed her house.

Suddenly the sky seemed to open up, there was blinding light and thunderous noise. Everything seemed upsetting and incomprehensible. She found herself standing among crowds of strangers. Looking about she saw a wooded area to her right and escaped the crowd to the peace and quiet of the forest. There she followed a trail until she came to the edge of a wide river. She stopped to admire the loveliness of her surroundings and decided to sit down. As was her custom when relaxing, she reached into her apron pocket for a small white cylinder. She was holding it in her fingers when a stranger approached.

DIALOG

Mary Jane:      Good Morning, Sir.
Stranger:        Good Morning to you.  May I sit down and join you?
Mary Jane:      Certainly.  You wouldn’t happen to have a light on you, would you?
Stranger:        Hold out your hand.  (his hands cup hers and fire appears)
Mary Jane:      Thanks.  Appears you’ve had a rough time of it from the looks of your hands.
Stranger:        Yes, there’s quite a story behind these scars.
Mary Jane:      I could use a good story.  It’s been some morning.  
                      I’m not really sure exactly where I am.
Stranger:        Even hear of Heaven, Mary Jane?
Mary Jane:      Hey, how do you know my name?  Do you think this might be Heaven?

A second woman walks up.

Stranger:        Good Morning, Sarah.
Sarah:	        Oh, here you are.  I’ve been looking all over for you, Lord.
Mary Jane:      You are the Lord?  The Lord God?	
Sarah:	        Lord, that lady is smoking!
The Lord:         No, I think it’s her cigarette that’s smoking.  She seems to be ok.
Sarah:             But what is she doing with THAT – HERE?
Mary Jane:      Oh, is this a no smoking area?  I’m sorry.

Mary Jane drops her cigarette and puts it out with her foot.

Sarah:           They told me people who smoke could not go to heaven.
The Lord:       Is that why you didn’t smoke Sarah?
Sarah:            No, I think it’s a disgusting, dirty habit.
The Lord:       Then is that why didn’t you smoke?

Sarah drops her head, then slowly looks up and speaks in a quiet voice.

Sarah:           They said you wouldn’t love me if I smoked.
The Lord:      Oh, Sarah, I loved you before you were born.  There was nothing you could have done that would have 
                    stopped me from loving you.
Sarah:           Nothing?  They said unless I repented, confessed all my sins and asked for forgiveness you wouldn’t love me.    
                    I was so afraid I might forget something or that you might not be able to forgive some of the things I’ve done.  
                    I have been so scared I might not make it here.
Mary Jane:    You mean there were things you had to do to get here?  I really don’t remember doing anything.  
                    I certainly never asked this man, uh, I mean, the Lord to forgive me.
Sarah:          Then how on earth did you get here?  
The Lord:     She got here exactly the same way you did.  She is my child.  I love her.  I wanted her to be here with me for eternity.  
Sarah:          (speaking to Mary Jane) You mean you were never baptized or join the church?
Mary Jane:   There were no churches within fifty miles of my place.  I heard tell church people wouldn’t want the likes of me anyway.
The Lord:      I see you both have a lot to talk about so I’m going to leave you here to get acquainted.  
                    I’ve promised a group in the city I’d join them for coffee.  

Donna J. Haerich ©

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Sat, 05/10/2014 | San Diego Adventist Forum
Monique Vincent, PhD candidate, University of Chicago

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