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The York Mystery Plays, like the other medieval plays, tell the story of the Bible, from Adam and Eve to the end of the world. It is surprisingly gripping and amusing stuff. This is an attempt to tell the story in terms of obedience.


  1. "I am the beginning and the ending":
     the Mystery Plays begin and end with God.
  2. In the beginning you made whatever there is:
     you created the universe and everything that's in it.
  3. Humanity is the crown of all creation:
     in your image you made them, male and female,
  4. for Adam and Eve it was paradise:
     but disobedience spoilt it, and the feeling of shame led to punishment.
  5. Abraham's obedience was tested in sacrifice:
     he believed in you enough to give up his only son.
  6. By obedience, Mary became your servant:
     Jesus was born, the child of promise.
  7. Shepherds brought the homage of ordinary people:
     and kings from the east worshipped with their treasures.
  8. John the baptizer was the last of the prophets:
     Jesus presented himself for baptism.
  9. His teaching brought many to the kingdom of heaven:
     your healing came through him to all sorts of people;
  10. crowds of supporters welcomed him into Jerusalem:
     but he drove the dealers out of the Temple.
  11. Church leaders wanted to put him away:
     the political masters showed little respect;
  12. Jesus was killed for the sin of the world:
     all who passed saw him die and understood the reasons.
  13. His disciples found him alive and risen:
     those who'd been closest to him knew he had conquered.
  14. Even the dead were aroused by his voice:
     the devils heard it and were terrified.
  15. At doomsday, the wicked are consigned to torment:
     but all the obedient are raised to glory.
  16. So the plays present the story of the world:
     it's our obedience to God from beginning to end.


York Mystery Plays 1988