A Freeze Frame reading of Isaiah 58

Written By:
Amy Robinson
Bible Refs: Isa 58:1-9
Lectionary Weeks: Fifth Sunday after the Epiphany (Year A)

This requires six willing volunteers. It is not essential to brief them beforehand, but it would be useful - and if they have rehearsed their positions and don’t need arranging by the reader, the effect will be even better!

It also needs a reader to act as Isaiah, reading the words shown in bold and directing the freeze-frames as shown in the italics. Ask your volunteers to allow themselves to be moulded, then freeze in position.

Extract from the text:

God has told me to let His people know what they are doing wrong.  They are surprised that God isn’t paying attention to their prayers, or making a fuss of their fasting.  This is what God says:

As the reader says the following, s/he directs the first pair into a freeze-frame to represent oppression: one person is bent under a load or has their hands bound, while the other stands over them in a possession of power, raising a fist.

Look! Even while you are fasting, you carry on your business as usual and oppress your workers!  You fast only to argue and fight and to hit with your wicked fists.  Fasting like that won’t make your voice heard on high.

That pair stays frozen while the reader moves on to the next pair and arranges them so that one appears to be resisting the loaf of bread, holding it at arm’s length while turning their head away and lifting their other hand to their brow in a dramatic gesture.  Their back is turned on the other, who is kneeling, begging for the bread.  As the reader arranges them, he/she says:

Is this the kind of fasting God chooses?  One day for a person to deny themselves and come over all miserable?

Those pairs stay frozen while the reader arranges the last pair: again, one begging while the other kneels in an excessive attitude of prayer and covers their head with the cloth, and the reader says...

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Amy Robinson is a writer, performance storyteller and ventriloquist, and benefice children's worker in her own church. She has published three books with Kevin Mayhew, writes scripts and resources for www.GenR8.org and blogs a bit. She lives in a rectory in Suffolk with the rector, two children and lots of puppets. www.amystoryteller.com christianwriters.directory/amyrobinson.htm

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