My kids take their legos and build as tall as they can, preferably taller than they are. They keep adding pieces to their spindly buildings until they crash down into a puddle of frustration where they gather themselves and begin again.
Sometimes they give up and do something else, but most times they keep building after the collapse until the happen upon a structure more easily transported and fit for their purpose.
They’ve started to learn that a good building isn’t simply tall, it’s also strong. The pieces stand better when combined in varying patterns side by side and stacking taller.
Reds and greens. Yellows and Blues. Browns and Oranges. 4 dots, 8 dots, 12 dots, and even two dots patterned together to make the strongest wall or tower possible.
Of course my kids are only two and four so their towers aren’t actually that strong yet. But they are getting the idea.
And isn’t that true of life as well?
I am starting to get the idea we are more whole when we work/exist/love/hope/build with other people along the same way.
We can stand next to each other, serve under each other, or build each other to greater heights. We have bigger and smaller roles and different parts to play, but together we position ourselves to make the castle stronger.
Of course there will be gaps in our walls, spaces we can’t find the right piece for, words we can’t get quite right, and theology that rubs around the edges. Perfection just isn’t here. If we’re talking legos we can always just call the hole a window, or, if life: a window to the ‘not yet’.
“We Christians, we have a saying about the Kingdom of God: it’s now and it’s not yet. We live in a tension. It’s the tension of living our lives as Kingdom people, oriented around the life and teachings of our Jesus, a Christocentric people, in a world that is not yet redeemed.”
Sarah Bessey, Out of Sorts, p131.
Sometimes it feels like the builders are toddlers with big heads and little arms and you’re just not sure how well this plan was thought through.
But this isn’t really about lego castles, walls or towers, or dinosaurs or toddlers.
Because this tower building Kingdom thing?
It’s not a competition, or we’d each have our own skinny weak tower all trying to out-tower the other before the unavoidable crash.
And it’s not a team thing either. We can build and build together until that wall looks so amazing and tall and strong, but is only empty promises. A check with no bank account.
This tower building thing is a kingdom thing and it ends up not being about us at all. It’s about being made whole by God and living from that wholeness as we reach our hands and wrap them around other hands. It’s about encouraging one another and building one another up because we know what our foundation is.
We are a faltering chain of humanity speaking up for the wholeness of God and supporting each other in grace as we live in the kingdom that is now, but also not yet.
We are but breathing dim reflections, echoing truths of a peace and wholeness that is yet to come but also here and now. And in the glimmerings of our everyday building the Kingdom as we do not yet know it.
1 Thessalonians 5:4-5, 11
“But you, brothers and sisters, are not in darkness so that this day should surprise you like a thief. You are all children of the light and children of the day. We do not belong to the night or to the darkness.”
“Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.”
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