The More Excellent Way

Loving Our Enemies

Stephen M. Hudspeth

Nov/2013, INSTANT DOWNLOAD

ISBN-13: 9781606741559

How are we to love our enemies? In fact, how can we even try to love them—especially in the context of a middle school or high school environment where meanness is spreading like a virus? That’s the question that this play addresses as it explores the backstories on the one hand of a bully, Joe, and on the other hand of his schoolmate, Billy, who responds differently than what the world expects. In addition to bullying, themes include difficulties young people may have at home—parents that drink and argue, finances, and other difficulties that are often unknown to the "outside world."

The play illustrates how Billy’s different response has grown through what he has learned in church school in the study of Scripture, in prayer and reflection, and in the doing of outreach work of all sorts through his church’s youth group. That outreach work as represented here for our youth can be tailored to your own congregation’s outreach work that involves your youth and to your youth’s other experiences doing similar work on their own, in for example school projects or with their families.

On the Sunday in which this was performed, the Gospel was Luke 10:25-37 (The Parable of the Good Samaritan) with which this play correlates. Other scripture used in this play (in order): Luke 6:27-28, 31; Romans 12:17-19a, 20a, 21; Matthew 5:44-45; Galatians 5:16-17, 20, 22, 6:2; Luke 6:37-38; I Corinthians 12:31, 13:4-6; Romans 8:26, 28; and Philippians 4:6, 8-9.

Cast Needed: 30 +/- (many parts, especially narrators, can be doubled)
  Cast List

Narrators (1-4)
Readers (1-8)
Singer
Joe – a student
John – a student
Tony – a student
Karen – a student
Teacher – non-speaking role
Mom
Dad
Boss
Billy – a student
Walter – a student
Spirit
Yester Ha-Ra
Yester Tov 1
Narrators (1-4)
Readers (1-8)
Singer
Joe – a student
John – a student
Tony – a student
Karen – a student
Teacher – non-speaking role
Mom
Dad
Boss
Billy – a student
Walter – a student
Spirit
Yester Ha-Ra
Yester Tov 1
Yester Tov 2
Bird handler – non-speaking role
Outreach project workers – a variety of non-speaking roles dependent on your congregation
Stage hands (for moving props)

Time Length: 30 minutes
Age Level: Youth
Audience: All ages 

Stephen M. Hudspeth of Wilton, Connecticut, has taught church school for over twenty years, mostly to sixth and seventh graders, at St. Matthew’s Episcopal Church in Wilton, writing a new play script almost every year for his class in a church school which is conducted jointly with Wilton Presbyterian Church; he has also taught confirmation classes for six years. He has been the chief lay officer (Senior Warden) of two Episcopal parishes, one in New York City and the other St. Matthew’s in Wilton, the latter two times.

He also served for a decade as the Chair of the Stewardship Commission of the Episcopal Diocese of New York and for two terms as a trustee of Union Theological Seminary in New York City (affiliated with Columbia University). In his current professional work, he teaches courses in law at the Yale Law School and in law and administration at Union Theological Seminary.

Until his retirement as a partner of a large international law firm at year-end 2004, he served for a dozen years as the chair of its global litigation department and of its pro bono committee. He has been married for over four decades to Rebecca Hudspeth whom he thanks profoundly for all of her help and support in this play writing and production process (and in all other things!) They have two children and two grandchildren.

A hamsa is an amulet shaped like a hand, with three extended fingers in the middle and a curved thumb or pinky finger on either side. It is thought to protect against the "evil eye" and is a popular motif in both Jewish and Middle Eastern jewelry. The name "hamsa" comes from the Hebrew word "hamesh," which means five. Hamsa refers to the fact that there are five fingers on the talisman, though some also believe it represents the five books of the Torah. Sometimes it is called the Hand of Miriam, after Moses' sister. In Islam, the hamsa is called the Hand of Fatima, in honor of one of the daughters of the Prophet Mohammed. Some say that in Islamic tradition the five fingers represent the Five Pillars of Islam.

In addition to being shaped like an oddly formed hand, many hamsas will have an eye displayed in the palm of the hand. The eye is thought to be a powerful talisman against the "evil eye." The evil eye is a certain "look" that can cause bad luck for the person at whom it is directed. This "look" often originates with a person, though not always intentionally. Legends about the evil eye give both regular people and those with certain powers the ability to cast the evil eye. In the case of the average Joe, envy is most often cited as the unintentional source of the evil eye.

We are using this symbol for the covers of the Skiturgies by Steve Hudspeth as his plays examine how this "evil" as well as "good" play out in our own lives and actions today. 

You May Also Like

Child by Child

Susan Richardson$14.95

The Synagogue and the Upper Room

Jerome W. Berryman$5.95

Church, Creation, and the Common Good

Ragan Sutterfield and Emily Sutterfield$9.95

13: The Story of Ruth

Jerome W. Berryman$5.95

The Ark and the Flood

Jerome W. Berryman$5.95

These Are Our Bodies: Primary Participant Book 5-pack

Jenny Beaumont and Abbi Long$24.95

Building Faith Brick by Brick ll

Emily Slichter Given$18.95

Our Daily Bread

Linda W. Nichols$3.95