This is the intro to my sermon last Sunday on “Messy Faith.” Complete with Vacuum Salesman voice, this part went over pretty well. All the way through the split personality conversation between me and Jesus, the drama of it started things well.
Let me know what you think!
“Hi, I’m your door to door, no more chore one stop shop for vacuums, vacuum salesmen. I can’t believe I got that all out. Today I’m going to show you a product that is so revolutionary, so unbelievable it will change the way you live. That’s right! One hour with this little baby and you will get days added into your week, weeks added into you month and guaranteed, your back will feel 20 years younger. If you’re under twenty, that may feel odd.
I’m just going to perform for you right in front of your eyes, the no mess vacuum test. This vacuum’s the best of the best and you can forget the rest! In this bowl, I have the worst offenders of most household carpets: Dog hair, Cat hair, Uncle Jimmy’s hair. Dirt, dust, and coffee grounds. Dried peas, old cheese and carrot shavings. There’s mold and cold, ants and plants with just a little bit of salt and pepper added for flavor.
Do I have your attention?
(Dumps bowl out)
Now before you cry foul, let me tell you that I’ve done this in over a thousand homes, for kings and queens, celebrities and dignitaries — this is the first church (looks up) — but never you mind, the No Mess Vacuum Test never fails to impress. Now watch, I’ll crank this baby up and (runs vacuum over mess), Shazam…Wingardium Leviosa, So Clean It Sparkles. You could eat on it’s so clean. So beautiful your children will cry! (SFX: Schwing)”
Sometimes, faith is peddled like a vacuum isn’t it?
Sometimes we talk about Jesus, hear Jesus talked about, like this vacuum cleaner salesman that if you let him into the door, he will suck all the mess out of your life and you will sparkle like a floor so clean, it’s Mr. Clean (SFX: Schwing). But life isn’t a floor and if you’ve walked any distance at all with Jesus, you know better than any that there’s still dog hair on the tile, mold under the sink and cheese on the carpet…at least in my house.
Sometimes faith is talked about like a product guaranteed to make everything shine. And occasionally it does, but if gloss and shine was God’s best plan, then Christianity would be a cleaning service and not a global, historical faith. I think that’s one of reasons that so many walk away from the church, people of God, the body of Christ. I think that’s why so many get so hurt by the Gospel that is meant to save and heal.
The reality is faith makes life messier, not cleaner. It makes things more real. Makes us more sensitive, more open to pain and much more capable of joy. Take the No Mess Vacuum Test. If we used this to pitch true Trust In Christ, it would sound more like this:
Me (Dumps bowl of offending particles): OK, Jesus. Make it clean.
Jesus: (staring at the dirt) I noticed you have some other rooms in the house. You want to add to the pile?
Me: Nope! Make it clean. Turn on the Jesus Vacuum and get rid of the dirt in my life.
Jesus: We could do that. Sure, but you’d just have another pile next week.
Me: So you can come back and clean that up, too. Please.
Jesus: I’m not a vacuum cleaner. I am God.
Me: Right, sure but, don’t you want to make me clean and holy?
Jesus: Absolutely, but that requires making more mess.
Jesus: What’s in that room?
Me: No one goes in there anymore. It’s too…
Jesus: Messy. Can I at least open the door?
Me: Then everyone will see and they’ll know.
Jesus: Hey, I see. I know. I love you.
Me: It’s going to make me feel so uncomfortable, I’d rather not.
Me: So, we’re just going to leave it?
Jesus: I’m ok with mess. I was born in dirt and straw, walked miles through the desert, healed with spit and mud, bled and sweat a very impressive amount. I even stayed a couple nights in a tomb once. Doesn’t bother me a bit.
Me: Well, it bothers me. When do you think you might clean it up?
Jesus: I don’t know. Would you prefer a vacuum cleaner?