An adaptation of Luke’s narrative for Denver from the strange year that was 2016
Narrator 1….In the days when many in the American Empire felt as though their power and privilege was slipping away from them, when marginalized peoples of all kinds were finding their rightful place at the table, and some of the white folks who had long ruled the land were pushing back with great force and vengeance, a TV personality and real estate magnate was elected to be the mouthpiece of those who longed to return to the “good old days” of American history.
Narrator 2….In those divisive days, full of chaos, turmoil, and tension, the angel Gabriela was sent to a town in Colorado called Aurora, to a young woman from Venezuela. The young woman was incarcerated in the ICE detention center because she didn’t have all of her immigration papers. There she spent her days waiting and working as a slave for the prison corporation. The young woman’s name was Maria. Gabriela came to her and said,
Gabriela….Greetings, beloved one! Dios is with you.
Narrator 3….Maria was perplexed by these words, and wondered what on earth Gabriela was talking about. What did this mean? Gabriela said to her,
Gabriela….Don’t be afraid, Maria. You have found favor with Dios. Now you will become pregnant and bear a son, and you shall call him Jesús. He will be great and will be called Hijo del Más Alto! Dios will make Him a great leader. He will rule with mercy and compassion, and become the liberator of many.
Maria….But how can this be, since I am being held as a slave inside this prison? I can’t return home to Venezuela. I have no home here in Aurora. My boyfriend was arrested and taken to a prison in California. I haven’t seen him for months now, and have no reason to believe that I will be seeing him anytime soon.
Gabriela….The Holy Spirit of God will come upon you, and the power of the Más Alto will overshadow you. Jesús will be called Hijo del Dios. Would you believe that even in her old age, your relative Isabella will have a child? Isabella is already in her third trimester. Truly, nothing lies outside of the possibilities of Dios, even in devastating days like these.
Maria….Aquí estoy, amado de Dios, let it be.
Songs: Let it be and The angel Gabriel
Narrator 4….In those days, Maria received another visitor. This was only the second visitor since she had been imprisoned, 87 days before. This time, it was her relative Isabella, who had successfully entered the American Empire. As it happened, Isabella was also pregnant, and would soon give birth. She was overjoyed to be bearing a child. With spiritual insight, she knew that her child would be one to make a difference in the world, to overcome prejudice and take down walls of exclusion.
When Isabella was lead into the visitation room, she heard Maria’s voice, the child leapt within her womb. Isabella was filled with el Espiritu Santo and exclaimed with a loud cry,
Isabella….Blessed are you among women and blessed is the fruit of your womb! I am truly in the presence of the one who will bring Dios into the world! As soon as I heard your voice, the child in my womb leapt for joy. Blessed are you who believed that there would be a fulfillment of what you were told by Dios.”
I’m bursting with Dios-news.
I’m dancing the song of my Savior God.
Yes, my spirit is celebrating Dios my Liberator!
Dios took one look at me, and look at what happened–
I’m the most fortunate woman on earth!
I will be considered blessed by all generations.
What Dios has done for me will never be forgotten.
Holy is the Holy name!
Dios’ mercy flows in wave after wave on those
who are in awe before the Holy One
Dios’ bared an arm and showed strength,
that scattered the bluffing braggarts.
Dios knocked tyrants off their high horses,
and pulled victims out of the mud.
The starving poor sat down to a banquet;
While the callous rich were left out in the cold.
To Israel, God’s servant, God has given help,
As was promised to the ancestors.
Song – My soul is filled with joy green hymnal 13
Narrator 5….Now the time came for Isabella to give birth. And she gave birth to a boy. Now, friends and family all thought that she and her husband would name the boy Zechariah after his father. This was tradition. But Isabella said,
Isabella….No, we’re going to call him John.
Narrator 6….People couldn’t believe it, and they turned to Zechariah. But he agreed. The name would be John. In this way they showed that this child was destined for something out of the ordinary, beyond home and family.
Narrator 7….And we now all know the story of how John stood up to the cruelty and prejudice of the local leaders, and the price that he paid, and what the difference it made in for human history.
Song – Comfort, comfort, O my people blue hymnal 176
Narrator 1….In those days, the mayor of Denver had passed a string of ordinances that favored the growing business sector and made life more difficult for the historically disenfranchised – people living on the sidewalks, people who couldn’t find work, people who in so many ways lived outside of community.
Narrator 2….The city was growing at an alarming rate. Traffic piled up on the freeways. Cranes littered the skyline. People were being forced from their historic neighborhoods. Homes were being bought out from under families, and scraped to the ground. The price of a one-bedroom apartment had grown to an amount of being unaffordable. Homelessness was at an all time high.
Narrator 3….In those days, in the deep dark and cold of the nights just before the Winter solstice, it came to pass that Maria was finally released from the detention center. Maria was sent out to her new life in the American Empire. She had no money to her name, and no place to lay her head. So Maria did as she was told. She hitched a ride to the Samaritan House on the north side of downtown Denver to find shelter for the night. Upon her arrival, she was told that she had come too late. All the beds were filled for the night. So Maria sought shelter in a tent among other houseless folks on the sidewalk outside.
Narrator 4….Maria, will this be your America?
Narrator 5….While she was there in the tent, the time came for her to deliver her child. She gave birth to her firstborn son, wrapped him in dirty blankets, and held him inside a borrowed coat. They were sharing a tent on a sidewalk.
Narrator 6….There was no room for them in the Samaritan House.
Song – The virgin Mary had a baby boy blue hymnal 202
Narrator 7….In that part of the city, there were security guards and police keeping watch over the city by night. Suddenly, an angel of Dios appeared before them, and the glory of Dios shone around them. They were terrified and reached for their weapons.
Angel….Don’t be afraid, I’m bringing you good news of great joy for everyone! Tonight a child is born on the north end of downtown, a Savior, a Leader, uno amigo de Dios. This will be a sign for you: you will find this child, wrapped in dirty blankets, surrounded in a borrowed coat, inside of a shared tent on the sidewalk.
Angels (three or so)….Gloria a Dios in las alturas, y en la tierra, paz.
Song – Away in the manger blue hymnal 194
Narrator 1….Throughout the night and into the morning a crowd began to gather. The first to arrive on the scene were the other houseless folks sleeping in the camp outside of Samaritan House. A group began to gather around Maria’s tent. And then someone started clapping and singing, and the next thing anyone knew, people were weeping and dancing for joy.
Narrator 2….The security guards and police to whom the angels had appeared, arrived next. They knew this part of town very well, for it was their practice to move these people along each morning. But, as day broke the morning after the birth of Jesús, the police officers and security guards gathered around the tent in amazement and joy. They saw the child, wrapped in dirty blankets, held in a borrowed coat, inside of a shared tent on a sidewalk.
Several People….This is the Savior, who is the Leader, uno amigo de Dios!
Narrator 3….Before long, activists and pastors were arriving on the scene to join the celebration. The celebration grew so large that it filled all the surrounding streets. Traffic stopped. Business professionals hopped out of their cars with the engines running and joined the party. Food trucks pulled up and began handing out tamales and cheese burgers. Everyone had all that they needed.
All the people….Sing and shout, “Gloria a Dios en las alturas, y en la tierra paz!”
Narrator 4….Everyone had all that they needed!
All the people….Sing and shout, “Gloria a Dios en las alturas, y en la tierra paz!”
Narrator 5….It was amazing. People are still talking about it. People even act it out sometimes. I can tell you this: lives were changed.
Narrator 6….Eventually the crowd dispersed. They continued to sing and shout, “Gloria a Dios en las alturas, y en la tierra paz!”
Narrator 7…. Maria treasured all of this, and pondered it in her heart and mind.
Song – Hark, the herald angels sing blue hymnal 201