Jesus and his disciples are at the Temple in Jerusalem after his resurrection. Murphy, (the non-disciple) tags along. Soon-to-be deacons are having a bake sale for the Greek widows in one of the outer porticos. Jesus takes his disciples (and Murphy) into the Temple outside the Holy of Holies. Some priests are standing quietly looking at the curtain.
Murphy: Are we invisible? I don’t think the priests see us (waving his hand in front of a priest’s eyes).
Peter: No, they’re like the guards at Buckingham Palace. They can’t move or they get in trouble (he touches one priest’s nose and the priest swats at his hand as if it were a fly)
Andrew (tickling one’s ear): No! We are invisible!
The disciples begin to mess with the priests. Simon is about to give one a wedgie when Jesus stops him.
Jesus: Knock it off! (He points at a big strip of duct tape running from top to bottom of the curtain.) Check this out. Tearing this apart was the last thing I did before Easter. Watch this…
Jesus waves his hand like a magician at the curtain. The disciples are frozen.
Jesus (watches and smiles): Gotcha! (He puts his hands down.) Now, watch.
The duct tape begins to slowly uncurl and fall from the curtain.
Bozar the Priest (jumping up, grabbing a stepladder out of the closet): Hot dog! There it goes again! Zebar get more tape!
Jesus (aside to the disciples): God’s altar. Keep it open. Peter, guys, when you get your churches going, I want you to remember two things.
Bozar holds the ladder while Zebar pulls a strip of duct tape, but the silver tape folds on itself and is useless. Zebar swears. Bozar pulls the hair on Zebar’s legs. Zebar swears again and kicks at Bozar.
Peter (watches and nods then turns to Jesus): What two things?
Jesus: It’s complicated. (The priests freeze.) Peter, you’re going to be a Catholic and Andrew you are going to be a Greek Orthodox and some of you other guys are going to be anabaptist, presbyterian, and what not. Just remember churches are for people with needs, not big holy off-limits altars, like this.
James: Will our churches be as big as the Temple?
Jesus: You wouldn’t believe! Here’s the two things: 1. No sacrifices, no death, no blood on the altar. 2. Everyone is allowed to come to the altar, and 3. The church is to be a sanctuary for anyone seeking refuge. You are to be a place of refuge for those in need.
Nathaniel (holding up his hand to Jesus): That’s three things, not two.
Jesus (pointing a finger at Nathaniel): Wanted to see if you were paying attention. The third one is prime. Wherever you guys worship and fellowship, make it a sanctuary for the rest of the world.
Jesus: It’s a place where one finds grace, love, safety and protection from the world. As the Father sends me, so I send you. Be a sanctuary for the oppressed.
Matthew: What if they’re sinners and are guilty?
Jesus: Sin oppresses. Keep an eye on the ideal, but be real — know the truth, but act in grace. Remember this: God will judge all. YOU are my disciples. Murph, you watch your sanctuality, too. I don’t want you kickin’ anyone out of church who is seeking refuge and forgiveness.
Thad: What about liars, thieves, murders, adulterers, cheaters, and Rastafarians?
Jesus: Love ’em.
John: What about greedy, proud, gluttonous, angry Germans?
James: What if a pharisee or scribe comes seeking refuge?
Jesus: Love ’em.
Murphy (the non-disciple): What about pigeons?
Jesus (shoves Murph’s head): Repeat after me: Repenters of sin, let ’em in.
Disciples: Repenters of sin, let ’em in.
Jesus: You trust me to judge and do what’s best for everyone. I’m trusting you to accept others as I accepted you. No exceptions. No is sin too big. Be love. Even if you meet in an auditorium or warehouse. You are my ambassadors. Reconcile to world to me.
Tr8: We are sanctuaries of unconditional refuge and love. Draw others into a growing relationship with Christ. Have faith, trust God.
John 20:21, 2 Corinthians 5:20