Curtains

curtains

“No, I’m telling you this is the last show. When the curtain comes down tonight that’ll be it. Kaput. Finito. Finished.” Victor was dabbing rouge onto his powdered cheeks. He glanced up, taking in the reflection of the young woman in the doorway.

“But, Victor. That’s not true at all. There will be another show. And another after that. Who knows how long this will run? Perhaps forever.”

“I wish I had your faith Muriel. But with no director, I don’t see how that’s possible. We’ll just play our parts and that will be it. After tonight the company will break up and, well….”

“Victor, we have a director. The Producer is our director. When Josh was directing he told us that he was just following the Producer’s wishes, to the letter. His stage directions are perfect – we all know precisely what we have to do. “

“I see no producer, Muriel. No director anymore, either. We are doing this thing by the seat of our pants. You need to open your eyes, sweetheart. Take a look around. This chaos can’t last for ever and we need to be prepared for the end. That’s why I’m going to make the most of my last performance.” He took a napkin and began to remove some of the excess rouge.

“That’s swell Victor. Tonight, after the show, during the party, we’ll get to meet the Producer. I’m sure he’ll love your performance and will tell you so.”

“The producer again! Muriel, I’ve never seen hide nor hair of this guy. I keep hearing about him, how great he is, such a sport, keeping us going for all these years. Well, the way I see it is that if there ever was such a fellow he hit the road a long time ago. Or else he kicked the bucket. We’ve been keepin’ this gig alive, with our talent, our hard work. There ain’t no producer. Just leave me out of your fantasies, will ya? I don’t want any part of this ‘new’ show of yours. Sorry to disappoint you.” He threw the wadded up napkin onto the floor.

“Oh, Victor. Don’t say that. Please!

TEN MINUTES TO CURTAIN!” the best boy sang out.

>//<

That night the company put on their finest show ever. A standing ovation. Victor and Muriel took two curtain calls and dozens of floral bouquets littered the stage floor.

Afterward in the dressing room, Paul, one of the grips came up to Victor. “You goin’ to the party Mr. French?” Victor was the last one in the dressing room, lingering as he removed his makeup one final time.

“What party, Paul? That fabled “last show” party all the suckers have been waiting for? Well, I hate to burst your bubble kid, but there ain’t gonna be no party because there ain’t no producer to throw us one.”

“Gosh, no Mr. French. Not a last show party. The New Show party. It’s already started, out on stage. C’mon, everyone’s askin’ for ya.”

Wearily Victor finished wiping the cold cream off his face and, still wearing his robe, followed Paul out into the wings. By golly, was that the sound of a party coming from beyond the curtains? As Paul parted the the heavy drapes, Victor’s expression changed from one of disdain, to curiosity, to confusion and finally to disbelief.

Lit up by the stage lights, the entire cast and crew could be seen gaily partaking in one humdinger of a soirée. Champagne glasses were waving about with abandon, large platters of roast meats and vegetables were on display, bowls of exotic fruits, caviar, canapes, smoked salmon….and isn’t that Joshua standing over by the bar?

“Victor! Finally, you are here!” Muriel threw her arms around him. “Here, take this.” She thrust a glass of champagne into his hand. He looked down at it as if he had never seen one before.

“Come Victor, you must meet the Producer. He is tremendous. Fantastic. He is so much more than I ever imagined. You will just love him. Come along – quickly!” She dragged the dazed actor by his free hand. He stumbled awkwardly behind her, sloshing his champagne, suddenly afraid to meet this Producer that he had so flippantly dismissed for all these years.

They approached a dense knot of people clustered about a well dressed man, everyone intent on getting his attention. Muriel pushed her way through. “Let me in, let me in! I’ve got Victor. The Producer asked to see Victor!” The crowd parted, people pulling back, their attention now on Victor.

He wants to see ME? thought Victor. Why me? What have I gotten myself into? He tried to pull back but Muriel would have none of it; she gave a great tug and Victor stumbled forward, right into the arms of the Producer!

“Whoa!” the man said, laughing. He clutched Victor by his shoulders and held him out at arms length. “I didn’t think you would be that eager to meet me, Victor” His smile was bright and it seemed to be quite genuine.

Suddenly Victor began to feel more at ease and even began to smile a bit himself. “I guess, I tripped…ah…er, sir. Sorry”

“Nothing to be sorry for lad. I am so glad to see you! ” He gave Victor a great bear hug. “I was beginning to think you were never coming out of that dressing room. Whatever kept you?”

“Well” stammered Victor. “You see, I wasn’t aware that there was a…I didn’t think that anyone would be….It was the last show and I thought…..”

“That’s alright” the Producer said, chuckling. “I understand everything. That’s all in the past. The important thing is that you are here with all of us. Now, have you seen the script for the new show yet? “

“A new show? I thought…oh.”

I guess there really is going to be a new show, thought Victor. And I guess I blew it, big time. He remembered telling Muriel that he wanted no part of it. He looked down into his glass of champagne. It was empty, everything had spilled out.

“You’re going to love your part in it”

“What?” Victor looked up.

“I said you are going to love your part in the new show.” The Producer was smiling broadly.

“But, but I didn’t….”

“Believe in me? Yes, I know about that. But you’re not the only cast member who didn’t believe. It’s hard for some people, with me staying behind the scenes. But you all have such hard parts to play, I know the script is not an easy one. I just didn’t want to be too much of a distraction to you all. I don’t want you to be so obsessed with trying to please me that you’ll forget your lines or even worse, try to upstage your cast members.”

“So you’re going to keep me in the new show?” Victor was astonished.

“Absolutely. You did a great job in the last show. Sure there were times that you missed your mark, occasionally stepped on someone else’s lines. I can forgive that. Even those times that you decided to ad lib a little bit, hoping to jazz up the show just a touch. But you realized how badly that went off and you came right back to the script. You’re a real trooper, Victor. You rarely thought of yourself – the play always came first.”

“Thank you. And again, I’m sorry.”

“You’r welcome and forgiven. Now, want to take a look at the new script?”

“Sure! This is great, getting to keep on working with the old cast and crew” said Victor.

“Oh, and a much, much bigger cast and crew. It’s a much bigger show. But not everyone is staying on board. Sadly a few have decided not to stick with the company. Take Maya, for example. She was hoping that she would be able to put on her own one-woman show. You know, one of those performance art things, going on and on about chocolate brassiers while standing on a commode or something like that. I told her that there were no one actor productions in our repertoire, so she’s going to try going it alone. I wish her well but….”

A newspaper shutterbug jumped in front of them. “Hey, Mr. Producer! How about sharin’ those pearly whites with the Good News’ readers?

“Oh, well sure! Anything for you boys.” And with that the great Producer put his arm around Victor and both of them faced the cameras, big grins brightly lit by popping flash bulbs.

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  1. #1 by netprophet on July 4, 2008 - 11:46 am

    Absolutely not Christian. But rather than name a bunch of names that don’t really mean much, I’ll just say that even before Jesus, people were being shown the Way. In seeking the answers to life’s most important questions, religion (the wonder of creation) such as “Where did I come from? What is my purpose? Is there a Supreme Being?, etc., God was never silent. His Spirit not only inspired those question in man but to some degree answered them. Thus we have all of our various religions. Pagan or not, our God or other gods, the Way was always behind the scenes exposing right from wrong, good and evil, the ying and the yang of our world.

    When Jesus said I am the Way, it opened an understanding that God had been paying attention to the all of mankind’s struggles with religion and religious questions. For a flesh and blood human to claim such a thing could not have been missed by anyone looking for truth about their god.
    Truth! He had that one covered also. And of course the Life…there is our purpose. Wouldn’t you do anything to learn more of this man? Wouldn’t you want to meet him even if it was only through those who were closest to him?

    Look at the centurion in Mat. 8:5-13. Did he gain Jesus’ favor by being pious, or doing good deeds? He was the enemy of the Jews. Jesus saw his faith and counted it for righteousness. As it was then it is now. For what ever reason you are seeking the truth, once you knock the Spirit will lead, and you will find the Truth the Life and the Way.

    If God wants you, as a follower of Jesus, to be a part of another man’s quest for the truth…well, may the Spirit be with you, Grasshopper! If only to remind you of your accountability.

  2. #2 by Steve on July 7, 2008 - 1:40 pm

    Ah, I get it now. Religion = bad, at least in any formal type of construction. We should be free to worship god in whatever shape or form we conceive of him/her/it/all to be, so long as that worship is not bound by oppressive patriarchal forms and recognizes the Divine Gaeia nature inherent in all beings, sentient or otherwise. (Kidding, a bit.)

    Do you think that only Jesus of Nazareth articulated the Way?

    He was the fulfillment of it, and most clearly articulated it, though it was also made known throughout scriptural history. It’s also revealed in General Revelation, though the mechanism isn’t always clear to me. God is made known through His creation (as in Romans 1), though how, or if, Christ is, I don’t know. I don’t claim to understand all the subtle ‘hows’ in His plan.

    If you’re asking about ‘extra-Christian’ sources, then I would say clearly ‘no.’

  3. #3 by Christian Beyer on July 7, 2008 - 2:39 pm

    …though it was also made known throughout scriptural history. It’s also revealed in General Revelation…

    But isn’t that often ‘extra-Christian’ (or at the very least ‘pre-Christian’)?

  4. #4 by Steve on July 7, 2008 - 2:46 pm

    Oops. That should probably have been ‘extra-biblical’.

  5. #5 by Christian Beyer on July 7, 2008 - 2:57 pm

    OK, but (I know you don’t profess to have all the answers) but isn’t General Revelation extra-Biblical? Couldn’t a blind deaf person born among pre-Columbian American natives be reached by God?

    As you mentioned, in Romans Paul says ; “For it is not those who hear the law who are righteous in God’s sight, but it is those who obey the law who will be declared righteous. (Indeed, when Gentiles, who do not have the law, do by nature things required by the law, they are a law for themselves, even though they do not have the law, since they show that the requirements of the law are written on their hearts, their consciences also bearing witness, and their thoughts now accusing, now even defending them.”

    What do you think Paul is getting at here?

  6. #6 by Steve on July 7, 2008 - 4:28 pm

    isn’t General Revelation extra-Biblical? Couldn’t a blind deaf person born among pre-Columbian American natives be reached by God?

    Yes; and yes. I guess GR is by definition extra-biblical. I don’t have a clue as to the how (or why) of general revelation beyond “God reveals himself to whom and in a manner of his choosing.” Is Christ revealed to the pre-Columbians? Are they held to the same standard as those who have heard the Gospel? Dunno. God works as God works.

    That’s an interesting passage, and I’ve never really looked at it in this context. Why do you think that there is so much emphasis in the NT (and in churches today) on missionary activity if Gentiles already ‘do by nature things required by the law’? My understanding is that General Revelation is of lesser worth than Special Revelation, but that may just be the Fundie in me talking.

  7. #7 by Christian Beyer on July 7, 2008 - 4:56 pm

    Well I don’t think Paul is saying that Gentiles actually ‘do by nature things required by the law’. Some may, but more likely, most do not. Just as most Jews and Christians do not. The Law being the one that Jesus said was the summation of all Jewish laws and which Gentiles and “pagans” (hate that word) also have.

    So if most people have this law written on their hearts and either;

    a.) Choose to ignore it

    b.) Work diligently and mostly unsuccessfully at obeying the law through legalism

    …then it would make sense to spread the Good News that Jesus has come to (at the very least) show everyone another Way (that works) to the Father.

    I would agree that Special Revelation is of more worth than General Revelation. I think that throughout my life God was revealing himself to me through his creation, especially through other people. But when, after having studied scripture, experienced fellowship with other believers, practiced prayer and meditation and finally realized that I could turn my burden over to God then -BINGO- the light bulb over my head went off. Perhaps not a very academic description of Special Revelation but…. I think worth sharing with others, if that’s a part of the Great Commission.

    Besides, shouldn’t missionary activity also be about serving others in need, materially as well as spiritually?

  8. #8 by Steve on July 7, 2008 - 7:00 pm

    Besides, shouldn’t missionary activity also be about serving others in need, materially as well as spiritually?

    Absolutely. If we’re not meeting their physical needs, the rest is just talk.

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