Faith CoLab: Tapestry of Faith: Wisdom from the Hebrew Scriptures: A Multigenerational Program

Activity 3: Retelling the Story

Activity time: 10 minutes

Materials for Activity

Preparation for Activity

  • Familiarize yourself with the story so you can guide a dramatized retelling.
  • Recruit three readers to read the three voices of Isaiah: the Encouraging Voice, the Despairing Voice, and the Triumphant Voice. Give the volunteers copies of the text in advance so they can prepare for their roles.

Description of Activity

Say, "The process of retelling this story will be different from what we have done with other stories. All the action is in the words of Isaiah, first talking with words of encouragement (like the mother who tried to help the ugly duckling); then telling of all the reasons for despair and sadness (like the duckling, who experiences bullying and rejection); and finally raising a triumphant voice (like those who proclaim that that the ugly duckling is really a magnificent swan). Introduce the three readers you have recruited to read the three parts, and invite everyone else to be part of the crowd of Jewish people listening to these words. Invite the crowd to act out being a people in exile, defeated and despised.

Ask the Encouraging Voice to read the first section aloud.

Ask participants:

What kind of message is here? How does it make you feel? Act out how you feel when you are having a hard time and someone is trying to help you get through it, telling you that things will get better.

Ask the Despairing Voice to read the second section aloud.

Say to participants:

Isaiah is describing the ways in which the Jewish nation, which he calls God's servant, has been mistreated. How does someone act when they are mistreated and can't do anything about it? Act out how that feels.

Ask the Triumphant Voice to read the third section aloud.

Say to participants:

Isaiah is giving the people hope that the bad times will end and they will get their land back for themselves and their children and grandchildren. Act out how it feels to hear such strong words of hope.

After the re-telling, invite participants to offer comments, observations, and insights about the passage.