Clinton A. Johnston
(No Shame Theater - Charlottesville - 12/26/03)
[Perform in front of a lectern as if a Christian priest or minister. Feel free to become animated as the piece progresses, but the original idea is to start as low key and mundane as possible. Don't be afraid at the beginning to encourage the audience to respond to you.]
It is wonderful to see so many believers and followers of the true faith together this morning, especially now, especially at this time of year, when all the glitz and the shopping and, to be straightforward, pagan elements of the season conspire to hide from us the true divine event that we should be celebrating. But we know the truth, don't we? Yes, we know.
We all know how ages ago the demons did battle against our great Lord and his other holy beings ... how they were unable to defeat such great holy power and were cast down to Earth where they beset mankind, taking the forms of powerful princes and lords. At that time, great evil ran rampant over the land. No one heeded The Lord's teachings, and the people were sorely persecuted by the demon hosts. Yes, there were prayers for deliverance, prayers for a savior. And the Lord heard these prayers ... and rose to answer them. You know this.
You know how the Lord vowed to come down to Earth himself, to take flesh like you and me, to be born of woman and yet not of man. You know this.
You know how at that time, Prince Kamsa, son of King Urgasena, was traveling with his sister Devaki and her noble husband, Vasudeva when a powerful godly voice boomed down from the sky saying, "Behold, Devaki. Your eighth child will be a holy child, and he will bring death to your brother, Kamsa!" Hearing this, Kamsa drew his sword right there to kill his sister ... but Vasudeva wrestled with Kamsa, holding back his brother-in-law's princely hand, begging him not to slay his wife. But Kamsa, full of the prophecy, would not be appeased until Vasudeva finally promised to let Kamsa kill all of their children if only he would spare the beautiful Devaki. This we know. This we know to be true.
This we know ... that Kamsa agreed. But not content to trust in Vasudeva's word, Kamsa overthrew his father and usurped the throne. He then threw Devaki and Vasudeva into prison, locked them there, and proceeded to kill each of their sons as they were born. Six sons did he kill this way, and most miserable were Devaki and Vasudeva, bemoaning the sons they had lost and bemoaning the holy child who was but one child away.
But the Lord was not blind; we know this. When Devaki was pregnant with her seventh child by Vasudeva, the Lord appeared in their cell, revealing himself to them in his divine form. They said, "Oh Lord, you are born here to rid the earth of demon kings and save the world; you are the light in everybody's soul; save us from Kamsa; he will be here now with his weapon; withdraw therefore your transcendental form." The Lord then used his divine power to move Devaki's seventh child from her womb to the womb of another of Vasudeva's wives in the distant village of Nanda, and then He, Himself took that child's place in Devaki's womb becoming her eighth child! Thus was the Lord born of woman and yet not of man. Amen!
Then the Lord, now in the form of a beautiful, dark babe spoke, and said, "If you are concerned for my well-being, you should take me to Gokula, town of cowherds, for a woman there named Yasoda has given birth to a daughter. Leave this city of Mathura and go to Gokula. Exchange me for Yasoda's daughter and bring the child back here to present as your own."
Vasudeva did as the Lord suggested. And as soon as he took up the new babe up and placed it in a basket, the chains on his legs fell off, and the door to their cell unlocked and swung open. He passed by the guards, whom he found magically asleep and walked without danger out of the prison. It was raining hard by the time he reached the Yamuna River, separating him from Gokula and overflowing in its banks. Vasudeva feared their travels were at an end, that they would be discovered, and the new babe killed. But we know what happened next! Before his eyes, the waters of the Yamuna parted and Vasudeva was able to walk across while the five-headed serpent, Sesha, bent over the child to protect it. Crossing the river, Vasudeva walked into the sleeping village, exchanged our Lord for Yasoda's newborn daughter, and made his way back to his prison in Mathura before anyone was the wiser.
And that is how the Lord came to be raised by humble
cowherds in the village of Gokula - our Lord who was destined to kill King
Kamsa, our Lord who drove away the demon kings who infested the Earth and thus saved
mankind, our Lord who was both of God and God himself. Praise him!
Praise his name! Praise the one,
true God, born of woman but not of man, 5000 years ago in Mathura! Praise Krishna, true incarnation of
Vishnu! Praise Krishna! Praise Krishna!
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Performed by Clinton Johnston.