Here is a readers’ theatre setting of Matthew 20:1-16, one of the suggested scripture texts for September 18, 2011 (Proper 20A). For a more contemporary telling of the story, see Dramatic Reading: Matthew 20: 1-16. For a simple dramatic version, see Dramatized Reading: Matthew 20: 1-16.
(Matthew 20: 1-16)
Those who are last now will be first then,
and those who are first will be last.
Narr: The Kingdom of Heaven is like the landowner
who went out early one morning to hire workers for his vineyard.
He agreed to pay the normal daily wage and sent them out to work.
At nine o’clock in the morning
he was passing through the marketplace
and saw some people standing around doing nothing.
So he hired them as well,
telling them he would pay them whatever was right
at the end of the day.
So they went to work in the vineyard.
At noon and again at three o’clock he did the same thing,
hiring more workers and sending them out to his vineyard.
At five o’clock that afternoon he was in town again
and saw some more people standing around.
He asked them:
Owner: Why haven’t you been working today?’
Voice 1: Because no one hired us.
Owner: I’ll hire you. Go out and join the others in my vineyard.
Narr: When evening came the landowner told the foreman
to call the workers in and pay them,
beginning with the workers who were hired last.
When those hired at five o’clock were paid,
each received a full day’s wage.
When those hired first came to get their pay,
they assumed they would receive more.
But they, too, were paid a day’s wage.
After receiving their pay, they protested to the owner,
Voice 2: Those people worked only one hour,
and yet you’ve paid them just as much as you paid us
who worked all day in the scorching heat.
Owner: Friend, I haven’t been unfair!
Didn’t you agree to work all day for the usual wage?
Take your money and go.
I wanted to pay this last worker the same as you.
Is it against the law for me to do what I want with my money?
Should you be jealous because I am kind to others?
Narr: So those who are last now will be first then,
and those who are first will be last.”
For a more contemporary reading of this same passage, see Dramatic Reading: Matthew 20: 1-16.
For more worship resources related to this text, or other texts for September 18, 2011 (the fourteenth Sunday after Pentecost), click on Proper 20A in the list of “Labels” at the lower right side of the page.
For other readers’ theatre settings of scripture, click on Readers’ theatre in the list of “Labels” at the right.