The Backpack Drama
Three characters: narrator, Father, girl
Props: red blanket, shawl or coat; black backpack; stiff paper placards (optional)
(notes to actors in brackets. OPTION: the actors can speak or mime their lines. Speaking them requires a bit more prep since you need to know them and where they fit in. Miming works well also – your choice)
Once upon a time there lived a young woman. You wouldn’t call her beautiful, but she was not unpleasant to behold. She did, however, have one distinguishing characteristic. One thing she was sure everyone had noticed, and yet no one commented on. Her backpack. She had carried her backpack for as long as she could remember. At night she would lay it beside her bed and in the morning she would strap it back on before doing anything else.
She couldn’t remember when she first picked it up. She never knew who had given it to her, or when, she had always had it. Like a birthmark. She never thought about leaving it beside the bed one morning. She never took a day off from carrying it. It was a compulsion, a need; she was driven to pick up. And she always did.
“Everyone has a backpack,” she told herself, “but no one talks about it.”
Every day she added to her load. She had been doing this for so long, she did it without thinking. Although it never seemed to get full it felt heavier every morning..
Although her backpack had never been empty she could remember a time it seemed lighter -- when she had been meeting with The Father. The land was divided about The Father; some loved him with all their heart and wanted to be his children. But others hated him and wanted nothing to do with him, or with those who loved him.
She remembered the first time she met The Father. Her dad told her what He could mean to her life. She was nine years old. She asked her dad if she could meet The Father. He took her hands in his and introduced her right then and there. She was amazed at the peace she sensed. At how her thoughts and feelings changed.
But now it seemed like a story from a book she had once read. It had been years since she felt freedom or peace. The Father had been faithful to her; He had blessed her along the way. He had taught her things about Himself. Lately, whenever she tried to drop by His house, she couldn’t get in. She knew why. She couldn’t fit through the door with her backpack on. And she was too scared to take it off.
There were times she still heard Him calling. When He told her to do something she tried to obey. But she could seldom do what He asked; in fact, she seemed very good at doing the opposite. Then, she would cry out to him and The Father would usually fix things. Each time He would ask, “Why not come to me at the beginning instead of at the end?” But she would simply add that to her backpack as well. (add the FAILURE placard to the backpack)
She cared for her backpack like it was a treasure. When its seams ripped from the weight or the zipper broke from all the opening and shutting, she would fix It, making it stronger. And then she would squeeze more in.
Sometimes late at night after a day when it had been opened a lot she would take it off and open it once more. She would pull things out one by one and remember when and why they were added. It held many small things, and a few huge things. There were also dark things, way deep down. She rarely took those out because she feared everyone would see them and she didn’t want to look at them either. There were things in there she didn’t remember; yet she carried their weight as well.
It was easy for her to be humble, as she only had to think about what was inside the dark bundle beneath her clothes. It carried the broken pieces of her heart. If she didn’t keep it with her she feared she’d never be able to put it all back together.
It was getting so heavy she could barely lift it, yet she couldn’t stop adding to it. She longed for freedom.
“Help me!” she cried, falling to her knees.
“Come to me, all you who are burdened and weary…,” Someone whispered.
“I’m so tired of this!” she moaned.
“…and I will give you rest,” said the still small voice.
She didn’t know how she would get in, but she knew He was her only hope. She must go to The Father. Feeling tainted and unworthy, she tried to clean herself up, but the more she rubbed the darker her stains appeared. Giving up, she approached his house, slowly, tentatively. He was there… as usual. He beckoned her in.
She tried and tried but could not enter until she removed the backpack and dragged it in behind her. She felt naked and tainted and ashamed. Still clutching her backpack she fell on her face at his feet. Her guilt washed over her and she could not speak other than a groaning that came from deep inside.
She lay, sobbing, until she realized He had come down onto the floor with her. He reached out to her. He was going to get her dirt on Him! She scurried back into a corner.
“Are you my child?” She wasn’t sure how to answer. He took a step forward.
“Are you my child?” She felt so confused. He took another step.
“Are you my child?” She knew the answer although she didn’t really believe it anymore.
“Yes,” she said, at last. She trembled as He took the final step.
“Doesn’t that make me your Father?”
“Yes,” she replied, more quickly. “Yes, you’re The Father.”
“No, I am not just The Father, I am Your Father.” He reached out for her backpack. She shrank even further back.
“I don’t think I can give this up,” she said, cradling it in her arms.
“Tell me what’s in it.”
(inside the backpack are the placards in bold below, at least 5 placards of guilt and several of sin)
She opened it and pulled out suffering, pain, confusion, lots and lots of sin; she pulled out sorrow and depression and she pulled out guilt. Oh so much guilt. It was full of guilt.
“You have been carrying it all this time not because you have to but because you want to. I have asked you to give it to Me over and over but you have held on to it,” He said. His voice was soft and kind.
She went to put it all away again but He took her hands in His. “Feel My wrists,” He said. Then He took off his shoes and placed her hands on His scarred feet.
“You are my child. You became my child the first time we met and from that moment on you were justified.” He still held her hands and she could feel his scars. “I have no condemnation for you, because you belong to Me. I am going to rename you. I’m going to call you Full Of Grace so that you never forget who you are.”
(The Father covers the placards with the red cloak or red jacket that he has been wearing over His clothes)
She looked down, expecting to see the spilled contents of her backpack but they were covered. She couldn’t see them.
She stood up, amazed at how light she felt.
“Don’t wait so long to come and see me next time. I’m always here,” He said. Turning to go, she bent to pick up the empty sack she had always carried. (the Father gently pushes it away with His foot)
“Leave it. It belongs to me.” She looked up at him, not understanding.
“I paid for it,” He said, hugging her to His chest.
Therefore, no condemnation now exists for those in Christ Jesus because the Spirit’s law of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death. Romans 8:1-2