The Real World…
Written for a Workshop
The church boasted only a tiny congregation, but they were a tight-knit group, meeting every Sunday for services, playing bingo on Friday night, and holding lots of bake sales. Everyone knew everybody else and their spouses and children. The group was like family.
One bright summer Sunday, as Pastor Givens gave his sermon, what should happen but a slimy slithering snake dragged itself down the aisle to stop at the front, just below Pastor Givens pulpit.
"What is that creature doing in here?" Mrs. Smith whined.
"Vile thing! Who left the door open?" Mr. Delancey declared.
The outrage spread like a tidal wave over the congregation until finally Pastor Givens took his sermon manuscript, rolled it up, and got down from his lofty pulpit to shoo the creature away. As he bent to swat the reptile, its ugly head lifted up and it stuck out its obnoxious, forked tongue, hissing.
The pastor stepped back in alarm while a stunned congregation waited in silence.
The serpent spoke, his tiny green eyes alive with horror. "Don't put me out! I'm lost. Can't I rest here for a while? Don't I deserve a chance to be here, too?" He stretched his head toward the congregation, hissing and showing his ugly tongue again. "Am I not pretty enough for you?" the snake asked.
The pastor felt the need to explain. "Excuse me, Mr. Snake," he said. "It isn't that you are too ugly. You're just different. You're a snake and we are humans, after all."
"Just because I'm different doesn't mean I am not one of God's creatures," the snake replied. "If I were a pretty bird, then I'm guessing you would let me stay."
With that remark, he twisted, then spun in circles before whoosh, disappearing in a flash. In the next instant, a fluttering white dove appeared on the spot. It lifted and flexed its graceful wings. "Am I pretty enough for you now?" the creature asked.
"Yes, you are," the Pastor replied. "I guess this means we shouldn't judge each other by appearances, since true beauty is inside, beyond where the eye can see. Apparently you were a beautiful bird inside.
"Yes, that's right!" said Mrs. Smith from the first pew.
"Absolutely!" said Mr. Delancey from the back.
The Congregation all joined in, congratulating themselves on a lesson well learned, smiling and shaking each other's hands.
"NO! It doesn't mean that at all," the dove said. "The moral of the story is…" the dove spread its wings and spun faster than the eye could see, coming to an abrupt stop to reveal the snake had returned. "The moral is 'never trust a snake.'"
Having said that, he slithered down the aisle and out the door, never to be seen again…that is, he was never seen in the form of a snake again. From that day, the congregation was never quite sure what they were looking at.
Copyright 2005 JO Janoski