Guarding Paul

This is a simple skit with a serious point. What is true freedom?

It’s based around Paul’s house arrest in Rome. Little is required in the way of props other than a prominent sword or spear to identify the guard, a desk, chair, pen and papers. (You can also leave copies of the script on the desk, so participants don’t have to memorise all the dialogue.)

Paul is seated at the desk, engrossed in reading some documents and taking notes. Next to him a Roman soldier is standing guard, looking thoroughly fed up…

Guard: ‘Tain’t fair, it ain’t!
Paul: What’s not fair?
Guard: Me being here like this!
Paul: You being here? Aren’t I the prisoner?
Guard: That’s just it! You’re s’posed to be the pris’ner an’ I’m s’posed to be the one making sure you behaves yourself.
Paul: Well – aren’t I behaving myself?
Guard: ‘Course you are, Mr Paul. You’re the best pris’ner I’ve ever had. Its just that…
Paul: What?
Guard: Well, it feels to me like I’m the pris’ner an’ you’re the one making me behave myself. ‘Tain’t right!
Paul: Ah! — Well, you’re right of course.
Guard: Course I’m right! — ‘Ang on! — What do you mean, I’m right?
Paul: You are a prisoner, and I’m not.
Guard: Eh?
Paul: You’re a prisoner to the sin in your life.
Guard: An’ you’re not?
Paul: Right!
Guard: So that’s why you’re such a Holy Joe? — Oh, begging your pardon, Mr Paul: but that’s what they calls you in the barracks.
Paul: I’ve been called worse.
Guard: Yeah – like them as was laying into you in the palace the other day, I s’pose. Some Christians they were.
Paul: They just think they know about me. As long as they really know Jesus, that’s all I care about.
Guard: Bunch of hypocrites, if you ask me!
Paul: If you judge them so harshly, you’ll be no better yourself.
Guard: There you go again!
Paul: Where?
Guard: Don’t judge them! Telling me what to do again, ain’t you?
Paul: Someone is.
Guard: Someone? I heard you say it!
Paul: Maybe — but God is speaking to your heart. You’re getting upset because you know it’s true and you’ve got to do something about it.
Guard: ‘Tain’t fair!
Paul: You’re a prisoner: but Jesus has set me free; and he can do the same for you.
Guard: I dunno. I’ll ‘ave to think about it. — (pause) — this is goin’ to be another long night.

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