HARD RAIN COMING
a one-act play concerning "the kingdom"
With theatre still dark, a low sound of thunder comes from behind the audience; this rumbling continues intermittently throughout the play, growing gradually louder. Spotlights come up to reveal three men on a bare stage, two standing and the third seated between them, as a western yogi in the lotus posture, clad only in a white loincloth and necklace of colored stones or crystals. He appears to be in deep meditation. (This character, who must be slender, could be played by a woman, with appropriate dress -- as in a pastel body-suit.) The man on the left wears a yellow rain-slicker having the word VISION on the hood; on his belt is a Roman style double-edged short-sword; in his hand a small Bible. His counterpart on the right, who carries a much larger black Bible and a bulky set of blueprints double-rolled like a scroll, is coatless in dress shirt and loosened tie above dark well-pressed suit-pants. In addition to sunglasses and a white hard hat bearing the legend WE HAVE A DREAM, this competent-looking individual packs a holstered handgun. The two standing with Bibles are peering intently out over the heads of the audience toward the thunder.
The Narrator walks onstage clad in an unadorned floor-length robe, not light and airy but nevertheless meant to suggest angelic majesty. The major difficulty of the Narrator's quite crucial role is that he or she must, in a few words, place the action -- which concerns the consummation of history itself -- in the context of eternity. Modern ears may balk at the requisite "high-flown" style, but the voice could almost intone, as one who unabashedly speaks for the Ancient of Days. Also the play's central "conceit" (as communicated in the Narrator's opening speech) of men privileged to ride the leading wave of the future itself, may be augmented in a full-blown production by having the front of the stage, toward the audience, suggest the sloping blade of a chisel, smoking where it meets the floor, as with ponderous steady movement. The background should appear as an empty, deep blue space, bounded by gently blowing curtains and relieved only by a few pinpoint stars.
NARRATOR: These three are they, few in number, who ride the uttermost tip of the sharp cutting edge of History as it plows its intricate groove upon the golden floor of Eternity. They find they have entered a time of disintegration and upheaval, of mighty crosscurrent, vortex, and confusion. ...This time is now.
The YOGI raises his hand and points toward the source of the thunder, and in unison the three "seers" on stage speak these words with great certainty and conviction:
ALL THREE: THERE'S A NEW AGE COMING.
Immediately HARDHAT on the right adds ironically out of the side of his mouth: ...Eventually.
YOGI (after thunder rolls again): I hear within the impersonal absolute of the cosmic Self the TRAVAIL of Mother Earth! The sound of shifting paradigms, the rumblings of a new birth! The very frequency of her nuclear structures now rising like a tachometer toward the red-line of spirit. I hear divine heralds of a bursting quantum dawn: Out of the womb of a trillion yearning sunrises the GODDESS soon to unveil her child, that new man, the final ubermensch, the ten-fingered hairy-chested god who stands erect: evolution's infinite journey at last conscious and behind the wheel!
RAINSUIT (on left): I hear a storm, coming on fast. But I think he got it right about the birth pangs.
HARDHAT: Oh give me a break, you decrepit mystical sot. That sound is only the old order crumbling under its own rotten weight. If either one of you jokers knew anything about concrete history, you'd know this millennial fever follows time-worn patterns. What else do you expect with the calendar having just laid down another three zeroes? This current rash has been building for nearly two-hundred years, bumpkins.
YOGI slowly shakes his head, then filling his lungs gradually to maximum capacity, he speaks cryptically:
YOGI: BUILD IT, AND HE WILL COME.
For the first time the faint strains of Duran-Duran's rock song Union of the Snake are heard as the Narrator whirls back onstage carrying a squat gray cylinder like a giant cake, about 30 inches across, and sets it somewhat in front, but a bit to the right, of YOGI, whose eyes remain closed, though he smiles knowingly.
HARDHAT (addressing YOGI): Build it and HE will come, huh? Yeah, well, you got the wrong "he," yogurt-breath, but you're talkin' truth nonetheless. Christ has purchased our authority -- in Hell itself, I might add -- to tread down that old Dragon and take the world for King Jesus. It just took us two millennia to wake up to the power he did win for us. The / Kingdom / Is / Now / Bubba. And I'm ready to kick some butt.
RAINSUIT (drawing his sword): Wait a minute. Jesus said, "My Kingdom is not of this world."
YOGI (in east Indian singsong): Correct. The Kingdom of God is within you.
RAINSUIT: I'm not talking to you. You never even read the Book, wiseacre. (He holds the sword and Bible together in one hand and addresses HARDHAT:) Brother, the Word says there will be a literal thousand years where Jesus in person rules the entire planet with a rod of iron from dusty old Jerusalem.
HARDHAT (shaking his Bible back): You poor literalist! You are really confused! First you quote "not of this world" and then you throw in a temple and throne room in Jerusalem!
YOGI (as if unaware of other conversation): BUILD IT, AND HE WILL COME.
Again accompanied by Union of the Snake, louder this time, the NARRATOR gracefully places another smaller cylinder, wedding-cake style, on top of the first, but not well centered. HARDHAT is watching and glances at his blueprint. He steps over quickly as if it's no big thing and centers upper cylinder.
RAINSUIT (pointing to structure): Look, can't you see what's coming together right before our eyes? Babylon is rising again. But our Kingdom "cometh NOT with observation." -- Do you think "New World Order" has been printed on our dollars for three generations on a whim? Revelation 13 unequivocally predicts a global government, economy, and religion -- emanating out of Europe.
HARDHAT (again shaking his Bible at other): There you go again. (mockingly:) "Emanating out of Europe." Spiritual things are spiritually discerned little brother! Jesus said we are to MAKE DISCIPLES OF THE VERY NATIONS. He said we are to OCCUPY until He comes. Your pie-in-the-sky-bye-n-bye "rapture theory" is largely to blame for getting us off-track in the first place! Satan is already bound, or well-in-process of being bound. Get involved in what's left of our political system so we can restore the godly foundations of the US of A under God. It's Nehemiah Time, little brother! Reconstruction! Revival! Total Triumph!
The thunder gets noticeably louder, this time musically accompanied by the Hooters' All You Zombies, while YOGI, NARRATOR, and HARDHAT repeat the "Build it" cycle. While this third tier comes into place, RAINSUIT picks up a Strong's Concordance from the floor, looks up a word, then produces a large poster for the audience which reads: OCCUPY: used in the KJV for the Greek word pragmateuomai, meaning to "do business" or "engage in trade," from parable of ten talents as given in Luke 19:13. RAINSUIT shakes his head disgustedly before tossing poster aside and speaking to HARDHAT:
RAINSUIT: O my kinsman, listen to that thunder. Listen to what this new ager is saying. They're expecting a messiah too, along with the Jews. What are you going to do with the book of Daniel -- past chapter one? What about the reviving Roman Empire and its "prince that will come," what about Second Thessalonians: the apostasy and the man of lawlessness, the son of perdition? Is "lawlessness" on the wane? What about Zechariah 12 -- Jerusalem as an intolerable burden to the whole world just before its inhabitants "see Him whom they pierced"? How can you ignore Hosea's little clue that God will raise US up on the "THIRD day"? What about fifty percent of ISAIAH, for heaven's sake, not to mention the last chapters of Ezekiel which lay out the design for an earthly temple that is yet future? Good grief, my brother, about one third of the entire Old Testament is screaming to us concerning "the Day of the Lord." SOME generation has to be the one to see it. Moreover, Jesus said we could know the season from the signs of the times: the fig tree of a regathered Israel, the love of many grown cold, the false Christs and multiplied doctrines of devils: He said we'd KNOW that "summer is near." And Paul reaffirmed WE would NOT be caught unawares, even though Jesus comes as a thief in the night upon the world.
YOGI: Build it and he WILL come.
HARDHAT: Oh, pipe down!
Again to a chorus of All You Zombies, NARRATOR places a fourth, and yet smaller layer on what is increasingly resembling a stylized Tower of Babel. Again HARDHAT absentmindedly makes a minor adjustment to this final level, this time using his weapon to nudge it into place. Simultaneously RAINSUIT is squatting down next to YOGI, trying, without much success, to show the becrystalled one something in the Scriptures. He leaves his sword lying at YOGI's side when HARDHAT, who has begun to pump iron with a short dumbbell labeled "FAITH", addresses him:
HARDHAT: Hey, I'm not going to argue with the Lord if I'm wrong and He raptures me tonight. But don't try to con me with that old malarkey about the Jews, little buddy. That was Plan A -- Old Covenant. The Jews blew it bigtime at Calvary. The Church is the new Israel of God. Read Galatians 4!
RAINSUIT (in stage whisper to audience): Read Romans Chapters Nine through Eleven!
HARDHAT (continuing): But where's the Spotless Bride at this juncture, huh? Hah! Got a little hitch in your program there, don't you? First must come the time of the restoration of all things to the Church (the manifest company of the sons of God, Dude, the forty-second generation)...the pulling down of demonic strongholds over neighborhoods, praying down principalities off of cities, nations, vast geographies -- with power and authority, with signs and wonders of the Church Triumphant. Shattering ALL the Berlin Walls of the spirit! THEN the King will receive His Bride! The Book of Acts says He's "held in the heavens UNTIL" we get it together down here. And you say Jesus could return at any moment!
RAINSUIT: No, Brother, I didn't say that and neither does the book of Acts say the other. I fear that you are the one twisting scripture. But you're right when you imply that a pre-trib-rapture has been the popular teaching. But that thunder's getting louder, and by my ears we're cruising right for it. [half to himself:] Sounds like a storm of judgement to me. Jesus did talk about a fire that purifies gold, didn't He? [turning back to HARDHAT:] A mid-trib, or what some folks call a "pre-wrath" rapture, might do nicely to iron out those spots and wrinkles, don't you think? Paul said we aren't appointed to God's wrath (he never exempted us from man's); the trumpets do seem to come before the bowls, you know, and Corinthians nails down the rapture at, quote, "the LAST trumpet."
HARDHAT (using his blueprint like a horn): Tooooooot! [extends hand] Phil Driscoll. Glad to meet ya.
YOGI (straightening up excitedly as with a vivid inner image): Finish it! For I can SEE him coming! Oh yes! He's mounted on a white charger and in one hand he has a bow, O such a bow, bejeweled like a rainbow!
While HARDHAT raises his dark glasses to watch more closely, YOGI, in worshipful ecstasy, removes a white plastic horse from the uppermost story of the tower before him and places it tremblingly on the pinnacle. In hushed awe he whispers:
YOGI: The Christ is now here! The way-shower to godhood for Everyman!
HARDHAT (a bit unnerved by this spectacle): He IS in la-la-land, isn't he? Look. I don't deny Satan may try to outflank us with a few crude counterfeits of true dominion, but see here now, dear Brother: Bottom line: "Seek ye FIRST the Kingdom of God and His righteousness," and everything needful to life will be provided us. What's YOUR agenda?
RAINSUIT: Same one, if it's really HIS Kingdom and not the "everything needful" disguised as His Kingdom. "THY Kingdom come, even on earth as it is in HEAVEN." And the real question is how that will come about. If I were writing the future, I'd rather write it your way. Not one of us here, him least of all [pointing to YOGI] wants evil to come to the full like leaven in a loaf; yet the Scripture clearly says, to MY mind anyway, that power was given to the beast to overcome the saints, as far as their physical lives are concerned; but the text is less clear when this is happening in relation to Revelation 11:15-16, where "The kingdom of the world has become the Kingdom of our Lord and of His Christ."
HARDHAT (in stage whisper to audience): Seventy A.D., headhunting creep.
RAINSUIT: So our emphasis needs to refocus: If the hour is as late as it looks by the signs Jesus and the prophets gave us, there's not time or energy left to pour into gearing up for more centuries of battle to re-establish a Christian culture. That ivory-tower activism calling for Christian jihad will only set us up for a backlash of persecution -- not revival. If we must be persecuted, let it rather be for midnight-cry warnings, for evangelism -- snatching souls as burning brands from the fire. The light of Truth, the salt of holy living, the blood of the Lamb and the word of our testimony are our only legitimate weapons against the floods of darkness. Don't forget the remnant principle, the narrowness of the gate, and even Christ's wondering remark, "Will the Son of Man FIND faith on the earth when He comes?" Remember He warned us that the very elect, if it were possible, might be deceived by the magnitude of the delusion blinding men's minds in those days.
Another very loud peal of thunder, this time accompanied by lightning flashes. On a screen behind the actors is projected the image of a great white horse in a cloud formation, seemingly rearing in the sky. RAINSUIT falls to his knees with his arms raised toward the sky. YOGI seems to swoon and picks up the wooden sword that has been lying at his side. He appears dazed as he looks from the sword to the great cloud-horse behind him.
HARDHAT: No, it can't be! I have the blueprint right here! I'm not ready!
HARDHAT leaves his Bible behind as he races about trying to show the others his plans. YOGI, in an extremity of anguished confusion, pierces himself through with the sword and collapses. Seeing this, HARDHAT discards his hat, his weapon, his blueprint and prostrates himself alongside his fellow-believer, who has thrown off his yellow hood. They cry together:
MARANATHA! COME, LORD JESUS!
The lights dim, the thunder abates as the three actors leave the stage. While the opening to Dylan's Slow Train Coming swells in the background, the NARRATOR walks slowly back to center stage, behind the tower supporting its plastic warhorse. NARRATOR picks up the small charger thoughtfully and gestures with it toward the sky-image, still dominating the background. Music and thunder both fade as NARRATOR speaks:
Two horses. Two destinies. Indeed, two kingdoms: One, all too visible, another still mostly invisible -- at which we can only hint with the apocalyptic imagery of vision.
NARRATOR picks up the discarded Bible and continues:
The future HAS been told. The question is, how much did the Teller intend literally and how much figuratively. I suspect if we study close and listen well, that too will become clear to us.
NARRATOR opens Bible to Luke 12:34-37, 40, 54-56, then speaks again:
I would simply leave you with this word: "'For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also. Be dressed in readiness, and keep your lamps alight. And be like men who are waiting for their master when he returns from the wedding feast, so that they may immediately open the door to him when he knocks. Blessed are those slaves whom the master shall find on the alert when he comes... You too, be ready; for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect...' And He was also saying to the multitudes, 'When you see a cloud rising in the west, immediately you say, "A shower is coming," and so it turns out. And when you see a south wind blowing, you say, "It will be a hot day," and it turns out that way. You hypocrites! You know how to analyze the appearance of the earth and the sky, but why do you not analyze this present time?'"
While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.
Copyright © 2001 STORMWATCH all rights