Reader’s Theater: The Easter Story

Scenes from the Life of Mary Magdalene: Noli me tangere (detail) by Giotto di Bondone. Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons

Reader’s Theatre:
The Easter Story

Based on John 20:1-18 (NRSV)
In this setting, you have the option of surrounding the scripture reading with Robert Lowry’s classic Easter hymn Up from the Grave He Arose (United Methodist Hymnal #322).

Click here for a PDF of this script

Play the first eight measures of Up from the Grave He Arose quietly and somberly. Play the same measures again, with a soloist singing or the congregation. Repeat the first 8 measures throughout the scripture reading building volume and tempo.

NARRATOR ONE
Early on the first day of the week, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene came to the tomb and saw that the stone had been removed from the tomb. So she ran and went to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one whom Jesus loved, and said to them,

MARY
They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we do not know where they have laid him.

NARRATOR TWO
Then Peter and the other disciple set out and went toward the tomb. The two were running together, but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first. He bent down to look in and saw the linen wrappings lying there, but he did not go in.

NARRATOR ONE
Then Simon Peter came, following him, and went into the tomb. He saw the linen wrappings lying there, and the cloth that had been on Jesus’ head, not lying with the linen wrappings but rolled up in a place by itself. Then the other disciple, who reached the tomb first, also went in, and he saw and believed; for as yet they did not understand the scripture, that he must rise from the dead.

NARRATOR TWO
Then the disciples returned to their homes. But Mary stood weeping outside the tomb. As she wept, she bent over to look into the tomb; and she saw two angels in white, sitting where the body of Jesus had been lying, one at the head and the other at the feet.

TWO ANGELS IN UNISON (NARRATOR ONE AND TWO)
Woman, why are you weeping?

MARY
They have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid him.

NARRATOR ONE
When she had said this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not know that it was Jesus. Jesus said to her

JESUS
Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you looking for?

NARRATOR TWO
Supposing him to be the gardener, she said to him,

MARY
Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have laid him, and I will take him away.

JESUS
Mary!

MARY
Rabbouni!

JESUS
Do not hold on to me, because I have not yet ascended to the Father. But go to my brothers and say to them, “I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.”

NARRATOR ONE
Mary Magdalene went and announced to the disciples,

MARY
I have seen the Lord!

The congregation sings the rest of Up from the Grave He Arose triumphantly, beginning at the refrain (verse 9).

***************
Adapted from the New Revised Standard Version of the Bible, copyright 1989 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Up from the Grave He Arose by Robert Lowry.
Public Domain. United Methodist Hymnal #322

Compilation © 2012 Lisa Ann Moss Degrenia
You are welcome to use this work in a worship setting with proper attribution

For more information on the music, scripture translation, art and the use of this resource in other settings, please refer to the copyright information page.

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