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STEPHEN  9'3m0f Stephen preaches before being stoned

BILL -- Stephen, are these charges true?

STEPHEN -- (in background, with echos, while other characters speak)

Brothers and fathers, listen to me! The God of glory appeared 
to our father Abraham while he was still in Mesopotamia, before 
he lived in Haran. 'Leave your country and your people,' God 
said, 'and go to the land I will show you.' "So he left the land 
of the Chaldeans and settled in Haran. After the death of his 
father, God sent him to this land where you are now living. He 
gave him no inheritance here, not even a foot of ground. But God 
promised him that he and his descendants after him would possess 
the land, even though at that time Abraham had no child. God 
spoke to him in this way: 'Your descendants will be strangers in 
a country not their own, and they will be enslaved and 
mistreated four hundred years. But I will punish the nation they 
serve as slaves,' God said, 'and afterward they will come out of 
that country and worship me in this place.' Then he gave Abraham 
the covenant of circumcision. And Abraham became the father of 
Isaac and circumcised him eight days after his birth. Later 
Isaac became the father of Jacob, and Jacob became the father of 
the twelve patriarchs. "Because the patriarchs were jealous of 
Joseph, they sold him as a slave into Egypt. But God was with 
him and rescued him from all his troubles. He gave Joseph wisdom 
and enabled him to gain the goodwill of Pharaoh king of Egypt; 
so he made him ruler over Egypt and all his palace. "Then a 
famine struck all Egypt and Canaan, bringing great suffering, 
and our fathers could not find food. When Jacob heard that there 
was grain in Egypt, he sent our fathers on their first visit. On 
their second visit, Joseph told his brothers who he was, and 
Pharaoh learned about Joseph's family. After this, Joseph sent 
for his father Jacob and his whole family, seventy-five in all. 
Then Jacob went down to Egypt, where he and our fathers died. 
Their bodies were brought back to Shechem and placed in the tomb 
that Abraham had bought from the sons of Hamor at Shechem for a 
certain sum of money. "As the time drew near for God to fulfill 
his promise to Abraham, the number of our people in Egypt 
greatly increased. Then another king, who knew nothing about 
Joseph, became ruler of Egypt. He dealt treacherously with our 
people and oppressed our forefathers by forcing them to throw 
out their newborn babies so that they would die. "At that time 
Moses was born, and he was no ordinary child. For three months 
he was cared for in his father's house. When he was placed 
outside, Pharaoh's daughter took him and brought him up as her 
own son. Moses was educated in all the wisdom of the Egyptians 
and was powerful in speech and action. "When Moses was forty 
years old, he decided to visit his fellow Israelites. He saw one 
of them being mistreated by an Egyptian, so he went to his 
defense and avenged him by killing the Egyptian. Moses thought 
that his own people would realize that God was using him to 
rescue them, but they did not. The next day Moses came upon two 
Israelites who were fighting. He tried to reconcile them by 
saying, 'Men, you are brothers; why do you want to hurt each 
other?' "But the man who was mistreating the other pushed Moses 
aside and said, 'Who made you ruler and judge over us? Do you 
want to kill me as you killed the Egyptian yesterday?' When 
Moses heard this, he fled to Midian, where he settled as a 
foreigner and had two sons. "After forty years had passed, an 
angel appeared to Moses in the flames of a burning bush in the 
desert near Mount Sinai. When he saw this, he was amazed at the 
sight. As he went over to look more closely, he heard the Lord's 
voice: 'I am the God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, Isaac 
and Jacob.' Moses trembled with fear and did not dare to look. 
"Then the Lord said to him, 'Take off your sandals; the place 
where you are standing is holy ground. I have indeed seen the 
oppression of my people in Egypt. I have heard their groaning 
and have come down to set them free. Now come, I will send you 
back to Egypt.' "This is the same Moses whom they had rejected 
with the words, 'Who made you ruler and judge?' He was sent to 
be their ruler and deliverer by God himself, through the angel 
who appeared to him in the bush. He led them out of Egypt and 
did wonders and miraculous signs in Egypt, at the Red Sea and 
for forty years in the desert. "This is that Moses who told the 
Israelites, 'God will send you a prophet like me from your own 
people.' He was in the assembly in the desert, with the angel 
who spoke to him on Mount Sinai, and with our fathers; and he 
received living words to pass on to us. "But our fathers refused 
to obey him. Instead, they rejected him and in their hearts 
turned back to Egypt. They told Aaron, 'Make us gods who will go 
before us. As for this fellow Moses who led us out of Egypt--we 
don't know what has happened to him!' That was the time they 
made an idol in the form of a calf. They brought sacrifices to 
it and held a celebration in honor of what their hands had made. 
But God turned away and gave them over to the worship of the 
heavenly bodies. This agrees with what is written in the book of 
the prophets: "'Did you bring me sacrifices and offerings forty 
years in the desert, O house of Israel? You have lifted up the 
shrine of Molech and the star of your god Rephan, the idols you 
made to worship. Therefore I will send you into exile' beyond 
Babylon. "Our forefathers had the tabernacle of the Testimony 
with them in the desert. It had been made as God directed Moses, 
according to the pattern he had seen. Having received the 
tabernacle, our fathers under Joshua brought it with them when 
they took the land from the nations God drove out before them. 
It remained in the land until the time of David, who enjoyed 
God's favor and asked that he might provide a dwelling place for 
the God of Jacob. But it was Solomon who built the house for 
him. "However, the Most High does not live in houses made by 
men. As the prophet says: "'Heaven is my throne, and the earth 
is my footstool. What kind of house will you build for me? says 
the Lord. Or where will my resting place be? Has not my hand 
made all these things?' "You stiff-necked people, with 
uncircumcised hearts and ears! You are just like your fathers: 
You always resist the Holy Spirit! Was there ever a prophet your 
fathers did not persecute? They even killed those who predicted 
the coming of the Righteous One. And now you have betrayed and 
murdered him-- you who have received the law that was put into 
effect through angels but have not obeyed it.

FRED -- Hope I'm not too late.

BILL -- Shshshshsh!

FRED -- Well, I brought my stone.

BILL -- Shshshshsh!

FRED -- What do you mean shshshshshsh? Aren't we going to stone 
Stephen to death?

BILL -- (whispers) How should I know? The trial isn't over yet.

FRED -- (laughs) Yeah, right. Like they're gonna let Stephen get 
away with preaching that Jesus was the messiah. (laughs)

BILL -- (whispers) Will you be quiet?! The trial is on.

FRED -- Look at the size of this stone. I can barely lift it 
over my head.

BILL -- Shshshshshsh.

FRED -- Don't shush me. This trial is just a rubber stamp. In 
just a minute, Stephen is going to be under a pile of rocks and 
mine will be the biggest one. (pause) This stone is heavy. When 
is he going to be done?

BILL -- Stephen is reviewing the events leading up to the coming 
of the messiah.

FRED -- Oh. (pause) This stone heavy. (shouts) Hey, Stephen, 
hurry it up!

BILL -- Shshshshsh! Quiet! This is a trial!

FRED -- He's just stalling. He probably saw my rock. (pause) 
Boy, this is heavy! (pause) I can hardly wait to use this rock. 
This baby will squash him like a bug.

BILL -- Do you mind?!

FRED -- Well, excuse me! I came here to stone somebody and all I 
hear is shush. (pause) Boy, this rock is heavy. I don't know how 
much longer I can hold it. Why are you looking at me like that? 
I'm not the one trying to pass off Jesus as the messiah.

BILL -- Can't you just watch the trial?

FRED -- I'm watching. I'm watching. Boy, this rock is heavy. 
(pause) I wonder what I should aim at. Everybody else will 
probably aim at his head. I should probably aim at something 
else. This baby would REALLY break an arm or a leg. Boy, this 
rock is heavy! Maybe I should have chosen a smaller rock.

BILL -- Alright. They've found him guilty. Get ready.

FRED -- My hands are slipping.

BILL -- Okay, here we go. Throw your rock.

FRED -- It's slipping. 

(thud)

Aaaaaaaah. Oh, man! Right on my toe!

BILL -- Will you stop playing around?! What are you doing!?

FRED -- I dropped my rock.

BILL -- Well, everybody else has already thrown their rocks. 
It's now or never.

FRED -- On my foot. I dropped my rock on my foot. I knew that 
rock was too big. Ooooh, boy, that hurts!

BILL -- Hurry, throw your stone!

FRED -- (fading) Okay, here goes. (groans) Aaaaaah. My fingers 
have cramps.

BILL -- Hurry!

FRED -- (grunts) I'm hurrying. (grunts) I'm hurrying. See? The 
stone is over my head. (grunts) Where should I throw it?

BILL -- Your too late. Stephen is dead. The minion has already 
left.

FRED -- (grunts) What do you mean, they left? I've got a rock 
over my head.

BILL -- (afar) See you later.

FRED -- Hey, (grunts) what am I going to do with this rock? Hey, 
help me out here. I've got this rock over my head and I can't...

(THUD)

Aaaaaaah. (fading) Right on the same foot. Oh, boy! Oh, boy! I 
knew that rock was too heavy.


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