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In 1992 the 64 dialogues in this collection were printed and bound in a book with the title Between the Lines. Dialogues for Worship. I do not intend to republish them in that form. Instead, they are freely available on this website. Progressively, they are being made available in Portable Document Format (PDF).
Permission is granted for individuals and congregations to reproduce copies of particular dialogues for their own use. If you use any of them, I would appreciate hearing from you. Any enquiries of a commercial nature should be directed to the author.
These Dialogues relate to the Gospels and up to Pentecost. They are listed in more or less chronological order. (We won’t get into quibbles of chronology!)
I strongly recommend that you read the background before using your first dialogue. This will help you understand my concept before you begin to “do it your way”.
by Peter J. Blackburn, published Testimonium Fellowship 1992. ISBN 0 9589794 5 6
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TITLE
Reference
Content
Luke 2.1-7
Christmas theme from the perspective of a Roman officer and his wife
Luke 2.1-7
Christmas theme through the eyes of the Bethlehem innkeeper and his wife
Matthew 2.1-12
Three members of the Babylonian Magi Association go missing!
Matthew 2.1-12
Is it just possible that the magi met the shepherds?
Luke 3.1-18
Who is the preacher who calls us to repentance?
Luke 4.16-30
This new Rabbi can’t be our former Nazareth carpenter!
John 2.1-11
Extra guests contributed to the crisis at the wedding feast
John 3.1-17
Nicodemus has heard Jesus teach and seen a miracle performed. Now he wants the truth about this “teacher sent by God.”
John 5.1-18
Zakkai and Azra, two members of the Jewish Council, are doing the rounds of Jerusalem to make sure the Sabbath rules are being kept.
Luke 5.1-11
Four fishermen give up their boats to follow Jesus after an incredible catch of fish!
Mark 2.1-12
Michael, visiting relatives in Capernaum, visits Jonathan, the paralysed man whose four friends lowered him through the roof so that Jesus could heal him.
Luke 7.1-10
The healing of the Roman officer’s servant told by two other Jewish servants, who are looking after him in their master’s absence.
Matthew 5.1-12
What were the personal struggles of the ordinary people whom Jesus addressed the Beatitudes?
Luke 9.57-62
Menam, Jezra and Perez are independently in Samaria on a common quest – to find the Teacher, Jesus.
John 6.1-13
A dialogue for Mothers’ Day. But for Mother, he mightn’t have taken that lunch!
John 6.25-40
Follows on from That Lunch. How could people’s interest be focussed, not on more food – or another miracle – but on Jesus and his teaching?
John 9
The neighbours of “the man born blind” in fact are providing reflection on the events of the passage before the reading moves on.
Matthew 9.9-13
Living in Capernaum, away from the centre of things in Jerusalem, three Pharisees have taken a responsibility to ensure that everything is done decently in “Galilee of the nations”.
Matthew 11.28-30
A conversation between two women, Ranah and Ornah, sets the background for the words of Jesus.
Mark 7.1-13
Three Pharisees are concerned about Jesus’ disciples and their casual approach to ritual cleansing.
Luke 9.18-27
Two disciples on Peter’s confession about Jesus as the Messiah the Son of the living God. What were the implications of this discovered truth?
Luke 9.37-48
In spite of what Jesus has said about suffering and dying, the disciples seem unable see their future in terms other than human greatness. So – who will be the greatest of them?
Luke 10.25-37
This drama deliberately tells the story from the viewpoint of the innkeeper and his wife – on the way painting in the background and a suitable Jewish reaction – before the scripture passage is read.
Luke 10.38-43
A short monologue. What does it mean for Martha and her sister Mary to care for their guest, Jesus?
Mark 4.39-41
The disciples are asking the question about who Jesus really is when the severe storm strikes their boat on Lake Galilee.
Mark 4.35-41
The disciples face questions of fear and faith confronted by the fury of a sudden storm.
Matthew 12.1-14
Three Pharisees, Ezra, Nathan and Obed keep an eye on Jesus and his disciples as they walk through the grain fields on the Sabbath.
Matthew 13.1-23
In this parable of Jesus may have touched very closely on things that had actually happened in the locality. Why did he use parables?
Matthew 13.24-30,36-43
Another reason for the uneven response to Jesus.
Matthew 17.14-20
Jesus had taken Peter, James and John and gone up a high mountain. Why could the nine not heal this sick boy?
Luke 12.13-21
Azor and Bazra, unlike some brothers, had grown up as best friends. They had both learnt their father’s trade and the family business was looking good. That is – until their father died.
Luke 12.22-31
Worry can affect all people – rich and poor.
Luke 13.10-17
How did the ruler of the synagogue view the healing of a crippled woman on the Sabbath day?
Luke 13.22-30
What are the demands of the Kingdom? Will Jesus gather his followers together as a political force, a moral force, a pressure group or “a place of safety in a corrupt society”?
Luke 15.1-32
A possible background to the story of the lost son and his elder brother as seen through the eyes of two of the servants. This dialogue provides relief in a well-known but comparatively long reading.
John 10.1-18
Nathanael’s superior knowledge of the Scriptures may have helped him understand the parable of the good shepherd.
John 11.17-44
Sarah and Hannah, two women from Bethany, discuss the passing of Lazarus, brother of Martha and Mary. An urgent message had been sent to their friend, Jesus. Why hasn’t he arrived?
Matthew 19.16-30
If a sincere and earnest rich person had difficulty entering the Kingdom, what hope is there for any of us? That was the disciples’ question.
Matthew 20.1-16
The Rich Young Man is important background to the parable of the workers in the vineyard. All of the questions about the basis on which God accepts people fail to understand grace – so central to the teaching of Jesus, and so needful for all, good and bad alike.
Luke 19.1-10
This dialogue provides an opportunity to bring in the Jesus-Joshua connection, lost to our readers, yet appropriate to the Jericho location – as Jesus meets Zacchaeus.
Luke 19.11-27
The story of the ten coins has two clear strands. The one relates to the rejection of Jesus by the Jewish authorities and the consequences of that rejection, the other to the possibilities that can be released when responding to God’s grace.
Matthew 21.1-17
Jabez and his mother are in Jerusalem on Palm Sunday. As a typical boy, Jabez can only foresee that this will be the time when Jesus is acknowledged publicly. But the Mother is aware of the potential dangers.
Matthew 21.33-46
Three Pharisees from Galilee, Ezra, Nathan and Obed, have come to Jerusalem for the Passover. Jesus’ parable of the tenants and the vineyard serves to unite factions within Judaism in their scheming to get rid of Jesus.
Matthew 25.1-13
This dialogue imagines a discussion between the mothers of two of the foolish bridesmaids.
John 13.1-17
What was Peter thinking as Jesus washed the other disciples’ feet – and came closer to him?
John 13.21-30
A reflection by an un-named disciple. “One of you is going to betray me”. Surely this was met first with bewilderment that any of them could do such a thing, then with wondering about some of the others, then with personal soul-searching.
John 15.1-10
James and John, the two fishermen brothers who had followed Jesus for nearly three years, are grappling with the concept of the vine and the branches – and the whole significance of Jesus’ call for them.
Matthew 26.36-56
Peter in the garden – he at least wouldn’t run away! – and Nathanael – urging common sense and wanting to know what had happened when Peter, James and John had gone further on to pray with Jesus.
Luke 23.13-25
Three Pharisees from Galilee have come to Jerusalem for the annual Passover. This Passover is different, however – the Teacher, Jesus, is in town. They have been watching Jesus for some time. Now they join the crowd that gathers before Pilate, the Roman governor.
Matthew 27.15-26
A monologue which assumes that the Romans would have required a local (Jewish) carpenter to make their crosses. Would this carpenter of Jerusalem have had any special thoughts because one of the victims was to be the Carpenter of Nazareth?
Matthew 27.17
A poetic meditation based on Matthew 27.17. What happened to Jesus Barabbas in whose place literally Jesus the Christ died? Did he in fact join the watching crowd?
Matthew 27.32; Mark 15.21; Luke 23.26
A poetic meditation by Simon of Cyrene at a much later time when he has reflected on the events of that day in the light of Christian faith.
Mark 15.31-41
A poetic meditation by the Roman centurion at the end of the day of crucifixion. Just what would a Roman officer have meant by "Surely he was the Son of God!" (Matthew 27.54)?
John 19.38-42
A conversation between Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus. On the one hand they are concerned with the machinations of the Council, but on the other Nicodemus reflects on his earlier secret encounter with Jesus.
John 20.1-18
The grief and bewilderment of Mary Magdalene, Peter and John at the empty tomb.
Luke 24.13-35
Two disciples hurrying back from Emmaus after their encounter with the risen Jesus.
Luke 24.13-39
Two disciples, about to eat their meal at Emmaus, discover that Jesus is alive.
John 21.1-14
There is confusion on the boat with the large catch of fish after a poor night’s fishing. The disciples do not immediately recognise that the “stranger” is their risen Lord.
Luke 24.44-53
The disciples know their Lord is alive, but he has now left them – with a commission!
Acts 1.1-11
Philip and Thomas discuss their Lord’s final commission in the light of the ascension. The finality of the ascension points to the necessity of Pentecost.
Acts 1.12-14
This dialogue imagines a conversation between Mary and two other women on the eve of Pentecost. Mary shares many things “tucked away in her heart”.
Acts 2.1-4
Miriam and Matthias discuss what Jesus taught about the Holy Spirit as they wait for others to come to the prayer meeting in the upper room.
Acts 2.14-24, 32-36
The account of Pentecost is presented from the viewpoint of Jannai, a strict Jew and member of the Sanhedrin, Jonathan, a Jew who has travelled from the far north of the Roman Empire, Jason, a proselyte from Rome, and Gaius, a former Roman soldier who has also become a Jewish proselyte. The drama attempts to present the confusion of the crowd as some grasped the disciples’ talking with great clarity and others understood nothing and assumed too much wine.