(It would help if there was a sign saying ĎRegistrar of Propheciesí. This skit is well suited to a Sunday in Advent.)
R -- Next ! (Isaiah takes a seat. He can be in biblical or modern dress.) Name - ?
I -- Isaiah.
R -- Isaiah What?
I -- Just Isaiah, nothing else.
R -- Nothing else? Are you are a rock star or something?
I -- Iím a prophet. Why else would I have come to the Registrar of Prophecies?
R -- But you must have another name. I canít put Isaiah. It would leave a blank space.
I -- (exasperated) Would First Isaiah do?
R -- First Isaiah? You mean thereís more of you?
I -- Let me explain: I wrote the first 39 chapters in the 8th Century BC, Second Isaiah wrote chapters 40 to 54 during the 6thC; and Third Isaiah wrote Chapters 55 to the end in the 5thC. Then they were all put together in one book - called Isaiah.
R -- Now let ME explain: this office shuts at five, and there are others waiting outside.
I -- Iíve come to register my prophecy.
R -- Good. So whatís the date?
I -- 9th December -
R -- No, not todayís date, you fool! The date of your prophecy, the date you say the world is going to end!
I -- Er, Iím afraid mine isnít that kind of prophecy.
R -- What do you mean, not that kind of prophecy? Thatís the only kind of prophecy there is! Iíve got thousands of prophecies lining these walls and they all give a date when the world will end! Iíve had about 100 people already this week prophesying 11th December 2111.
I -- Whatís so special about 11th December 2111?
R -- Itís a palindrome, see, 1112Ö 2111. Palindromes are very popular. For 20th November 2002 we had to build an extension to house all the prophecies.
I -- Well, Iím sorry but I donít have a date, palindromic or otherwise. Iím a forth-teller, not a fore-teller. The Word of God is told forth in the words I speak.
R -- But this wonít do at all. I donít have any FORTHtelling forms, only FOREtelling forms! How did you get in here anyway? Who let you in?
I -- Who could keep me out? Iím the greatest prophet of Jewish scripture. I am quoted more times in the New Testament than any other prophet.
R -- All right, all right, but I still have to have a DATE.
I -- Iíve got an idea - write the word NOW.
R -- Now? You mean todayís date?
I -- No, I mean NOW. When you wake up tomorrow, todayís date will be yesterday, whereas NOW will still be NOW - tomorrow, the day after, and so on forever.
R -- I donít have enough room for all that.
I -- Just put NOW. My prophecies call forth the word of God for people NOW in the 8th century BC, and NOW in the 21st century AD.
R -- Yes, well, Iím sure youíre right, but letís move on - references. I need three referees.
I -- Will three kings do?
R -- Iíd SAY so! Now they were proper prophets, the Three Kings. They saw the star, consulted their charts, and they had a DATE.
They knew when Christ would be born.
I -- No, not THOSE three kings: I worked in the courts of three 8th Century Kings: Ahaz, Hezekiah & Uzziah.
R -- And where might I find these royal referees?
I -- The second Book of Kings. Chapters 15-20.
R -- (writing painstakingly) Fif-teen .. to .. twen .. ty. There! Weíll be computerised next year. The whole lot - I canít wait! A paperless office - sheer heaven!
I -- (raising himself to his full height, taking a deep breath and orating) Advanced technology will not lead to a brighter future. Human invention will not lead to security. Cheap oil will not lead to eternal bliss. None of the Harry Potter gizmos and i-Pods and Robo-Babies, not even George Foremanís Super-Humongous Size Grills will lead us to the Promised Land. If this is where you place your faith, O people of this world, if this is the only reality you can see, you are in dire trouble.
R -- What are you doing?
I -- Iím prophesying! This is the prophecy Iíve come to register!
R -- But I canít put that down! Youíre talking about US - hey, youíre even talking about ME - I was planning to get one of those grills!
I -- I told you my prophecies were about NOW didnít I? God's will NOW for this world. I forth-see a world where there are no scam artists who take advantage of seniors, no paedophiles who abuse children, no drug dealers creating young addicts. I forth-see a world where bombs and bullets are not used to settle disputes and the strong do not take advantage of the weak. And a little child leads them.
R -- And by Ďlittle childí I presume you mean Jesus. But heís already come and gone and weíre still in the same old mess. You sound like so much we read in the Bible - we know it ďain't soĒ. Your Ďprophesyingí sounds fine, but we know it isnít possible for such things to happen. Youíve only got to look at the situation in the world today - yours would be a beautiful world, but it just "ain't" so.
I -- You still donít understand do you? Youíre so obsessed with your forms and your numbers, you donít see that these are not my words but Godís Word. Yet you say it ainít so.
R -- I know it ainít so. Itís a dream, a nice dream.
I -- Our dream maybe, but Godís reality. The reality wherever Godís Rule applies. In Godís Kingdom, the oil of peace flows down the beards of Israeli soldiers grown old, and the Palestinian sits under a fig tree in his own garden Ö and a little child leads them.
R -- There you go again. This little child died 2000 years ago. On a cross.
I -- In South America, the mothers of the Disappeared sit and pray together with the politically rich and powerful; in Africa, the hungry sit down at the tables of the well fed, and in Asia the children dying of Aids are rocked to sleep in the arms of the drug-barons Ö and a little child leads them.
R -- No he doesnít! He canít lead anybody - heís hanging on a cross! Christmas is coming and we shall go about doing what we did before, only more so. We shall head for the shopping mall and we wonít give a thought to the starving and homeless. Weíll buy our Alkaselzers to cure our overindulgence and shrug our shoulders when weíre told that millions of children are dying from preventable disease. Go and give your Word of God to the fairies in Macyís - their Santaís Grotto should be able to contain your great fantasy, no problem.
I -- Christmas is always coming, you silly man! The Child is always being born into the world, always knocking on the door of your heart and asking for a room. Now, yes, now, now, NOW (he works up to an oratorical frenzy and exits proclaiming loudly), the Spirit of the Lord rests on him, on the little Child who leads themÖ
R -- (after a pause to let the impact of Isaiahís exit die down, he looks at Isaiahís ĎRegistration Cardí carefully) I thinkÖ Iíll put Mr First Isaiahís prophecy in .... (goes to put it in imaginary files) ... ĎPENDINGí (throws it over his shoulder and calls out:) NEXT!