Therefore the kingdom of Heaven
was likened unto a carnival,
with rides of every kind,
midway games and entertainments,
cotton candy, peanuts, ices,
hot dogs, and bags of popcorn
all in abundance for everyone
who would step up and ask for it.
Then the dour men by the empty till
asked: “Where are the gatekeepers?
Where are the gates, and the fences?
What keeps out the sinners and unworthy?”
And the Lord looked at them sharply.
“Who said sinners were to be kept out?
Who identified anyone as unworthy?
I was sent as a shepherd for the lost
and as a doctor for the sick.
By whose word do you draw lines
and by whose authority do you exclude?”
And the dour men answered, saying
“Lord we searched Your scripture
and we determined these writings
by which we divide men from eternity.”
The visage of the Lord darkened,
and He drove them from the carnival
with a scourge formed of strands
of brightly-colored beads.
“Get you from my sight, you vipers!
You have strained my word through
the filter of your own bigotry;
that which remains is a reflection
of the blackness of your souls.”
A little girl stepped forward,
and tugged at the Lord’s robe.
“Master, You have driven them away.
Are they now refused entrance?”
The Lord smiled and took her hand.
“No, child. I refuse no person
who accepts me and what I offer.
It is they who exclude themselves
by wanting me to be what I am not
and insisting on their interpretation.
If they can accept, they can return.
Now, let’s get back to the carnival.”