Saturday night and Sunday morning The Weather Channel displayed scenes of houses with their windows boarded up and ocean waves that seemed ready to snatch Stefanie Abrams off the boardwalk and toss her out to sea.
Then in church, our pianist chose weather related opening hymns. So as worship assistant, I found myself leading the congregation first to Higher Ground and then to The Solid Rock. Having gone that far, it seemed natural to share Jesus’ short parable at the end of what most Christians call The Sermon on the Mount.
“Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.” (Matthew 7:24 – 27, NIV)
There are 103 words in those 4 verses. Not one of them is IF. Or JUST IN CASE. No, the hurricanes will come. Are we ready? And what happens after?
Several years ago I wrote a sketch about this passage for my JesusQuest class at Watsontown Christian Academy, but I never quite figured out how to use it. We tried live student actors, and produced an amusing disaster. The substantial student portraying the house on the sand relished crashing onto the floor, shaking the entire classroom.
This past year I took a puppetry class with some of my students, and A Tale of Two Houses became an international hit—in Pennsylvania and Jamaica. I embellished two shirt boxes to create the two houses, Miss Roxie and Miss Sandy. Insert a white-gloved hand with peepers, and you’ve got a talking house. A female puppet portrayed the reporter, and my construction worker puppet performed the role for which he was purchased, with the best Brooklyn accent I could muster.
For your amusement, and hopefully edification, here’s scene two:
The sketch ends with the puppets lip synching to a wildly energetic song, “Build Your House Upon the Rock.”
I had one purpose in writing this sketch. I wanted to reveal one sentence of truth. All the other lines, the puppets, and the music showed up to make that possible. So don’t miss it. Here it is:
Da Boss loves this house.
Not to belabor the point, like the characters in the La Quinta ads, but just in case you don’t get it, I’ll gladly explain.