The Lost Gospel of Ronald
- 2002 29 Oct
He opened His mouth and began to teach them, saying, "The kingdom of heaven is like a king who wanted to throw a birthday party for his son. He and his queen tried not to be materialistic, yet they knew they could not afford to replace all their furniture and carpets, so they booked a McDonald's Playplace, the one with the space shuttle on top the 20-foot scaffold, for it was the favorite of their son the prince.
"And the king and queen sent out 17 invitations, even the one upon which the king had misspelled the child's last name, and they ordered a balloon bouquet. And lo, a parent called, saying, 'My daughter has strep throat; pray hold me excused.' And the king thought that was a much better reason for not coming than, say, having bought a cow.
"But by the night before the party no one else had called. And the king gnashed his teeth and said, 'I may not be Miss Manners, but I know what RSVP means!'* And the queen consoled him, saying, 'We'll plan on everyone coming, and if they don't we'll just get to take more cake home.'
"Behold, the afternoon of the party arrived. And the king was vexed, for the balloon bouquet was not ready, and the Party Zone employee was sorrowful so that she added many extra balloons in repentance, and the bouquet would barely fit inside the king's van, and the king's parents nearly suffocated in the back seat.
"And only three guests showed up, but they were the prince's three best friends from preschool, so no one cared. And even though the king had not sent servants onto the highways and byways to invite other people, it did not matter, for all the children at the McDonald's helped themselves to cake and ice cream and party favors anyway, whether they had been invited or not.
"Then the children swarmed about on the space shuttle, which did rock and sway about tremendously so that the parents' hearts grew faint within them, but it did not fall down. And the children played and yelled and shrieked with joy until the walls and the parents' ears rang like bells.
"And when the prince opened his presents, the king and queen were relieved to see that no one had given him any drums, Slime, Gooze or other implements of destruction. And they were greatly pleased with the prince, who did remember to say thank you to each guest and who used his manners, sort of, when he ate, except for when he and his guests gooshed chewed-up french fries between their teeth at one another, giggling so much that they spewed a great deal of it on the table.
"And the king's countenance brightened, for he knew that someone else would have to clean up the disgusting mess, and that he would have many photos with which to blackmail the prince when he became a teenager.
"And when the party was over and the king lay in his bed that night, his heart was sore afraid within him, for the prince was starting kindergarten the next day.
"And the king remembered many embarrassing zits, humiliating Little League games, locker room bullies and being picked last for everything in Phys Ed, and the king did not want any of these things to happen to the prince. But the king also remembered that somehow God and his parents had helped him survive, and he quit worrying so much.
"But as the king fell asleep, he wished that the prince would quit growing up so fast."
And when he had finished speaking, his disciples said, "Explain the parable to us. And can we have some more cake?"
* "Respond So Very Promptly" of course.
Greg Hartman is a Senior Online Editor at Focus on the Family. Copyright 2002, Greg Hartman. All rights reserved.