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OPENGIFT 5'2m?f Salvation: Puppets introduce an alter call

BERT -- (with great effort and lots of grunts, pushes up a large 
package with pretty gift wrap and large bow, when package is in 
full view, puts back against package, pushes package to corner 
of stage) Uhh! Uhh! Uhh! Package for you, Ernie. (collapses face 
up on top of package, pants)

ERNIE -- (enters) Oh, hi, Bert. You got a package for me?

BERT -- (pants) Yes. Package for you.

ERNIE -- Who is it from, Bert?

BERT -- (strains to rise, turn and read inscription on package) 
It says, "To Ernie, A gift from God in Heaven." (collapses face 
up on top of package again, pants)

ERNIE -- Oh, what a lovely package Bert. Thank you very much. 
(exit)

BERT -- Wait a minute. Where are you going?

ERNIE -- (reenters) Into the house to watch TV. Why?

BERT -- Well, aren't you going to open your gift?

ERNIE -- What's in it?

BERT -- What do you mean, what's in it? Open it up and find out!

ERNIE -- Well, if I can find out what's in it, I won't have to 
tear up all that pretty wrapping paper.

BERT -- You've got to be kidding! I just broke my back 
delivering this gift and you've not even going to open it?

ERNIE -- Just give me a hint. I can guess what's in it.

BERT -- Ernie, when someone sends you a gift, it's rude not to 
open it.

ERNIE -- Yeah, but if I open it, it's not going to be nice and 
new and shiny anymore. So, give me a hint. Do you know what's in 
the package?

BERT -- Of course I know what's in the package! I deliver these 
packages all the time.

ERNIE -- So, give me a hint.

BERT -- Alright, I'll tell you! It's the gift of salvation 
through Jesus Christ.

ERNIE -- Bert! You ruined the surprise! I just asked you to give 
me a hint!

BERT -- (pauses, looks to audience, looks to Ernie, looks to 
audience) Is this guy for real?

ERNIE -- Okay, thanks for the gift, Bert. See you later. (exits)

BERT -- Wait a minute! Where are you going?

ERNIE -- (reenters) Into the house to watch TV. Why?

BERT -- You're still not going to open your gift?

ERNIE -- No. I already know what's in it. See ya. (exits)

BERT -- Wait a minute, Ernie!

ERNIE -- (reenters) What is it now, Bert?

BERT -- The Lord God in heaven just gave you the gift of 
salvation. And you are not going to even open it to see what 
it's like?

ERNIE -- Do YOU know what it's like, Bert?

BERT -- Well, yes, of course I know what it's like. I accepted 
God's gift of salvation and I opened it....

ERNIE -- So, what's it like, Bert?

BERT -- (pauses, looks to audience, looks to Ernie, looks to 
audience, turns back to Ernie) If I tell you what it's like, are 
you going to open the gift?

ERNIE -- What would be the point? 

BERT -- (bangs head against the package, growling)

ERNIE -- What's the matter, Bert?

BERT -- Ernie, let's suppose this gift was a bicycle. Would you 
open it?

ERNIE -- What color is the bicycle?

BERT -- (bangs head against the package, growling)

ERNIE -- Why are you so getting so upset, Bert?

BERT -- Are you trying to tell me that if this was a bicycle, 
you would leave it in the package and never experience the 
thrill of riding a new bike? You would never feel the wind 
through your hair, or feel the way the bike takes the corners or 
the way it hops over the curbs?

ERNIE -- Well, now that you put it like that, I guess it would 
be kind of fun to open the gift and use it.

BERT -- (collapses face up on the gift) Finally.

ERNIE -- But you already told me that this gift ISN'T a bicycle, 
Bert.

BERT -- Yes, but it's just as much fun. Wouldn't it be fun to 
know that every mistake you ever made is forgiven?

ERNIE -- Well, yes, but,...

BERT -- Wouldn't it be fun to know that you don't have to feel 
guilty (nose to nose with Ernie) about the stupid things you do?

ERNIE -- Well, when you put it like that....

BERT -- Wouldn't it be fun to know that when you have something 
important to do, no matter how difficult or how unpleasant it 
is, the Holy Spirit would be right there beside you, helping 
you?

ERNIE -- It would be kind of like the Holy Spirit is pedaling my 
bicycle, wouldn't it?

BERT -- Yes.

ERNIE -- Okay, Bert, I'll open it. Bring the gift into the house 
for me. (turns)

BERT -- Wait a minute! (gets in Ernie's path) I just carried 
this gift all the way up the hill to your house. And now you 
want me to drag it into your house too?

ERNIE -- Sure. Right this way. (tries to get by) 

BERT -- What a minute, Ernie. I have another gift for you. 
(exits, reenters with baseball ball, swings it menacingly) 
Alright, where do you want it? One, two,...

ERNIE -- On second thought, I'll just drag the gift into the 
house myself. (grunts and exits with gift) See ya, Bert.

BERT -- (drops bat, looks to Ernie offstage, to audience, to 
Ernie Offstage, to audience) Hey, you out there. Have you opened 
your gift yet? This nice man will tell you how you can open your 
very own gift from God himself. (exits)


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