As I write this, it’s the Christmas season and churches all over the place have children on the front stage dressed in bathrobes with towels for head-dresses and shepherds staves. The Christmas pageant is the simplest play with the most profound of messages, God has sent us a savior!
I could claim that Jesus told stories and so should we, but that’s a flawed hermeneutic. Jesus told stories in order to conceal the truth not to reveal it. Don’t believe me? Check this out:
“And the disciples came and said to Him, “Why do You speak to them in parables?”
Jesus answered them, “To you it has been granted to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it has not been granted. “For whoever has, to him more shall be given, and he will have an abundance; but whoever does not have, even what he has shall be taken away from him.
“Therefore I speak to them in parables; because while seeing they do not see, and while hearing they do not hear, nor do they understand. “In their case the prophecy of Isaiah is being fulfilled, which says,
‘YOU WILL KEEP ON HEARING, BUT WILL NOT UNDERSTAND; YOU WILL KEEP ON SEEING, BUT WILL NOT PERCEIVE; FOR THE HEART OF THIS PEOPLE HAS BECOME DULL, WITH THEIR EARS THEY SCARCELY HEAR, AND THEY HAVE CLOSED THEIR EYES, OTHERWISE THEY WOULD SEE WITH THEIR EYES, HEAR WITH THEIR EARS, AND UNDERSTAND WITH THEIR HEART AND RETURN, AND I WOULD HEAL THEM.’
“But blessed are your eyes, because they see; and your ears, because they hear. ” (Matthew 13:10–16, NASB95)
So why should I use skits and plays in church then if “because Jesus did it” is the wrong answer?
I propose a better answer: Because the Bible does.
Aside from the didactic letters in the New Testament the rest of the Bible is largely (with some exception) a collection of narrative stories. Why did God record such a large portion of his revelation in the genre of narrative? Because people love stories, and think in stories and live in stories. It’s one thing to didactically state that God can deliver the weak from the strong, it’s another thing entirely to see the story of David and Goliath portrayed in front of you on the page.
That’s why we use story, and that’s why these skits are included. They’re certainly not on par with scripture, but they are in their own small and weak way a means of communicating some small scriptural truth.
Use them as God permits.