Setting: Waiting room right outside heaven's gates, where people go to be 'processed' after they die. To the side is an "up/down" label for the elevator. There is a picture of fire below the down arrow and a pearly gate above the up arrow. There are two chairs on stage for sitting in.
Characters: Clueless Joe, who looks dumber than your average fool, dressed in pajamas and a night cap;
Saint Peter dressed as one of Santa's elves (cap and all), but clad in blue rather than green;
Two children, Little Joe and Little Jenny;
Little Joe and Jenny's mother;
The angel Gabriel, dressed in blue jeans and a T-shirt
The scene begins as Clueless Joe wanders on stage scratching his head and looking about as clueless as a clueless man can look. Saint Peter, feeling very foolish in his elfish get- up, comes from the right hand side of the stage, down toward the front, sees Clueless looking around just as bewildered as bewildered can be, and sits down to have a chat with him.
Peter (while on audience level): How do I get myself into these things? That guy on stage has no idea where he is or what he's doing here. Guess I'll have to come down to his level, and explain things like you would to a little child. It's the only way he'll ever enter the kingdom of heaven. (He eyes his watch) Time's running out. I'll have to make it quick. (he comes on stage and approaches Joe) Hi, I'm Peter.
Joe: As in the Pumpkin Eater? I think I read about you in the Dr. Shoe series.
Peter: No, I'm not the pumpkin eater. Just call me Pete.
Joe: Sweet. And you can call me Joe. Joe Schmoe.
Peter: All right, Joe. So... (checks his paper) Fell asleep at the wheel, huh?
Joe: No, but I think the other guy did. What is this place anyway, the Land of a Million Questions?
Peter: No. It's just the waiting room. See the sign?
Joe: Oh yeah. So what am I doing here? Is this a dream, or what?
Peter: Nope. This is as real as it gets. You died, Joe.
Joe: No way. That can't be right. Where's the tunnel and the white light, and the big fluffy cloud? This just looks like a doctor's office.
Peter: That's because it's the waiting room! Now then. What's the last thing you remember doing before you found yourself here?
Joe: I was at a birthday party for my Mom. It was Christmas time but it was her birthday too. Anyhow, I had a little too much punch and the designated driver was taking me back to my home on skid row. Last thing I remember, it felt like we were sliding on thin ice. There was this big bang and a crash. Then I woke up here. Is this heaven?
Peter: I told you. It's the waiting room. There's a big difference between the two. And if I were you, I'd put in an urgent request for a recall, because according to my papers you're not ready for heaven.
Joe: I'm not? But I got my medical checkup and everything.
Peter (looking up to God): This is turning out to be harder than I thought... I know. Once a fool for you, always a fool for you. (He turns back to Joe) So what's your idea of heaven, Joe? Be honest.
Joe: Actually, I sort of pictured it as a cloud where people do nothing all day but play the harp. Then some angels bring you some bread and water and you play the harp some more. Then you fall asleep, eat some bread and water, and repeat the process. Always sounded rather boring to me. But hey, that's my idea of heaven.
Peter: That's not what I meant. When I said 'heaven,' I meant your idea of a good time.
Joe: Why didn't you say so? My idea of heaven is a big party. Place to have fun, take a load off, go a little crazy. Celebrate like there's no tomorrow and bring out all the bootlegged liquor.
Peter: Well, believe it or not, that's exactly what heaven's like. But instead of bootlegged liquor, we've got wine - genuine, pure, unadulterated wine!
Joe: You're pulling my leg.
Peter: I'm not touching our leg. I'm telling the truth. Heaven is one big celebration, pure and simple: great food, great wine, and a grand old time. And yes, we do go crazy with our worship, because we've got so much to celebrate!
Joe: Really? Like what? Do all the angels have birthday parties or something?
Peter (to himself): This man really is clueless. (back to Joe) Let me ask you another question, Joe. Who'd you come here to see?
Joe: Actually, I was hoping you could tell me. I've got a feeling that most of my friends will end up in that mosh pit down below. They think it's one big party down there. But if I had to make a stab at it, I'd probably say I hope to see my Aunt Bertha, my uncle Albert maybe, cousin Louise - she was a nice girl, died at a young age of cancer. Maybe a few other relatives. Great big family reunion. Is that what you mean by a celebration?
Peter (turns back to Clueless): Let me explain this in a way that I think you'll understand. You were just at a birthday party for your mother, right?
Joe: Of course. I just told you that.
Peter: All right. Now I want you think really hard and tell me who exactly the party was for.
Joe: My Mom, of course. We were all there to honor her. And to pull a prank on her next door neighbor.
Peter: That doesn't sound very nice.
Joe: What's the big deal? We were just going to steal his Christmas tree. Temporarily.
Peter: You grinch!
Joe: But... but it was a joke.
Peter: And this isn't, Joe. This heaven and hell thing - it's for real. Think CLEAN fun, Joe. No tricks, no lies, no stealing, and no hurting anyone. In any way.
Joe: You're kidding, right?... Right?
Peter: Can't you see how selfish you're being, Joe? Must everything be about you? Don't you care whether or not you hurt people?
Joe: I just wanted to have a little fun.
Peter: Joe, Joe, Joe. When will you ever learn that it's not about you? Or your relatives. Or your friends. It's about the King that sits on the throne. (His name's Jesus, by the way).
Joe: Oh! I know who Jesus is! He's that cute little baby that was born in the manger two thousand years ago (give or take a few years).
Peter: Congratulations! You know more than I thought you did. So picture this: Jesus was that cute little baby. But He's also God. Always has been, always will be. He came to earth not only to be born, but also to grow up, live a perfectly sinless life, perform many miracles, die on a cross for the sins of mankind, and rise again from the dead three days later. I don't know about you, but I think that's cooler than a polar bear on ice. That's what everyone else up here thinks too. Up here we celebrate Jesus' birthday every day. We clap, we dance, we sing,
and in short have a great time!
Joe: Oh. I never thought of it that way before.
Peter: Well, it's time you thought of it that way, dude. And by the way, your clothing - well, it's just rude, dude.
Joe: Boy, do I feel foolish.
Peter: Yep, pajamas and slippers just don't cut it. Let me show you the sort of clothes they wear up there. (Peter brings out an amazing robe and crown of gold, like you would expect a king or prince to wear)
Joe: Whoa! That's amazing! It makes me feel - I dunno, sort of unworthy. What kind of robe is that, anyway?
Peter: It's called a garment of praise, the robe of righteousness given to all repentant sinners. Did you know that the Bible says there is more joy in heaven over one sinner that repents than over ninety nine righteous people that need no repentance?
Joe (pauses for a moment, looks around nervously like a man being led from prison to face a firing squad): So why are you dressed like an elf?
Peter (setting aside the robe): So I can explain my message to the little boy inside of you who always wanted to have more fun than a barrel of monkeys.
Joe: How'd you know that?
Peter: Let's just get to the point, Joe, which is this: you're not ready for heaven.
Joe: I'm not? But I've tried to be a good boy. And at least I know who Jesus is, compared to all those pigmies in Africa who never heard about Him.
Peter: (sighs: Here we go again with the pigmies) We're not talking about pigmies, Joe. We're talking about you.
Peter: Yes, you. (to film director): Roll that birthday party clip from when Joe was ten years old, will you?
Joe: I hope you're not going to embarrass me in front of this big cloud of witnesses.
(The film shows a young girl sitting down on stage with a present in one hand and a lollipop in the other. A boy of about eleven or twelve sits down beside her)
Peter (pointing to the boy): Look, Joe. That's you as a boy, with your little sister Jenny.
Joe: See? I wasn't so bad. And I always thought of Jenny. That's a gift I got her.
Young Joe: So are you going to open it or what?
Jenny (turning away from him): Just be patient. (She has some trouble unwrapping it due to all the tape he covered it with. Finally she gets it open and takes out a pair of old, broken down skates)
Young Joe: Well - what do you think?
Jenny: These are cheap.
Young Joe: No, they're not.
Jenny: Yes, they are. Look at 'em. They're all messed up. If you were going to give me a gift, couldn't you give me something new?
Young Joe: Boy, are you picky! And after I went to all that trouble to break them in for you!
Jenny: Wait a minute! These are your old skates!
Young Joe: So?
Jenny: You cheapskate!
Young Joe: I am not a cheapskate! Take that back.
Jenny: You are SO a cheapskate! Mom!
Joe's Mom (taking quick steps into the room): What's going on here?
Jenny (pointing to Joe): Joe's a cheapskate. He gave me a cheap pair of skates. Why doesn't he ever get me something nice for Christmas?
Young Joe: Can I help it if I have to save my money so I can buy a Play Station?
Little Jenny: You're cheap! Cheap, cheap, cheap! And after we all put our money together to buy you that Play Station! - Oops!
Young Joe: Do you mean to say you all bought me a Play Station? Thanks for ruining the surprise! (grumble, grumble, stick out tongue, grumble some more) Maybe I don't want a Play Station any more.
Joe's Mom: Now, Joe, Jenny didn't mean to tell and spoil the surprise. A gift is a gift, and you both need to be appreciative. Although, I must say, Joe, what you did was pretty low. (She exits the stage, followed by Little Jenny and Young Joe)
Joe: But... but... I really was only thinking of Jenny.
Peter: The truth is, you were being downright greedy, Joe. You expected others to get you good gifts, but your gift to Jenny was downright ratty. That's what happens when you make gold your god. Eventually you end up skidding into skid row.
Joe: I guess that maybe I have been kind of selfish. Or, should I say, elfish? I really don't want to end up that way.
Peter: So are you trying to say you're sorry? Or are you just sorry you got caught?
Joe: Well, to be honest, I'm really sorry I got caught... And I'm sorry if it keeps me out of heaven - especially if it's one big party like you say it is... Yes, I would definitely say I'm sorry. And I really am sorry for all the mean things I've said and done that don't honor Jesus. Hope I haven't ruined His birthday.
Peter: Well, if you really mean that from the bottom of your heart, there may still be hope for you. Gabriel?
(Enter the angel Gabriel, dressed in jeans and a T-shirt and ready to pull the switch)
Joe (to Peter): Who is that guy? He looks like your ordinary Joe.
Peter: Don't be fooled by outward appearances. The guy's a real angel, believe me.
Gabriel: So. Is it the pits or the party?
Peter: Neither. Send him to recall. He gets one more chance to
live his life for Jesus.
Joe: A second chance? You mean...?
Peter: Yep. There's still hope for you. Remember: heaven's a celebration. No crying up here. You've got to prepare your heart - as in, make room for Jesus and invite Him to come in!
Joe: Oh... My heart! Now I understand!
(He exits with Gabriel, muttering "Why didn't anyone ever share this with me before? (etc) )
Peter: See you soon - I hope.
PLEASE ENCOURAGE AUTHOR,
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