One of my boys favorite toys at their Abuelita’s house is a little toy vacuum. The other day Matthew (age 2) was vacuuming his little heart out. Every so often he would look around to see toys, blankets, and pillow pets strewn all over the floor and say, “I’m cleaning up this big mess.” And he would begin anew trying to vacuum up it all. He even vacuumed the table!
But as hard as he worked the mess was still there. The mess that he and his brothers made. That little toy vacuum just wasn’t cutting it, with the very real mess.
Is there a big mess surrounding you? Do you feel like Matthew. Trying and trying with all your might to clean it up, but the toy vacuum just isn’t working?
Maybe we’re trying to clean up a spiritual mess with earthly tools? Maybe we were never intended to clean up the mess in the first place? Maybe letting it all go, and diving into God’s grace for a good scrubbing will be more effective than weeks, months, or even years of our own efforts?
Generous in love-God, give grace! Huge in mercy-wipe out my bad record. Scrub away my guilt, soak out my sins in your laundry. I know how bad I've been; my sins are staring me down.
You're the One I've violated, and you've seen it all, seen the full extent of my evil. You have all the facts before you; whatever you decide about me is fair. I've been out of step with you for a long time, in the wrong since before I was born. What you're after is truth from the inside out. Enter me, then; conceive a new, true life.
Soak me in your laundry and I'll come out clean, scrub me and I'll have a snow-white life. Tune me in to foot-tapping songs, set these once-broken bones to dancing. Don't look too close for blemishes, give me a clean bill of health. God, make a fresh start in me, shape a Genesis week from the chaos of my life. Don't throw me out with the trash, or fail to breathe holiness in me. Bring me back from gray exile, put a fresh wind in my sails! Give me a job teaching rebels your ways so the lost can find their way home. Commute my death sentence, God, my salvation God, and I'll sing anthems to your life-giving ways. Unbutton my lips, dear God; I'll let loose with your praise.
Going through the motions doesn't please you, a flawless performance is nothing to you. I learned God-worship when my pride was shattered. Heart-shattered lives ready for love don't for a moment escape God's notice.
Make Zion the place you delight in, repair Jerusalem's broken-down walls. Then you'll get real worship from us, acts of worship small and large, Including all the bulls they can heave onto your altar!
We're all sin-infected, sin-contaminated. Our best efforts are grease-stained rags. We dry up like autumn leaves-sin-dried, we're blown off by the wind.