There is a Lego store across the street from my office. Like, literally across the street. I’ve been at Wieuca Road Baptist Church for four months now and have not yet set foot in that store. What is my problem?
Legos have a universal appeal. Why is that? I think part of the answer is that we, as humans, like to build things. It’s part of our creative nature. Made in the image of God, we are wired to create – just like God. Building things is in our DNA and part of what makes us human.
As you know, when you build with Legos you create using different colored blocks. Of course you can try to build something all the same color – but where is the fun in that? Lego buildings that are red and blue, yellow and green, black and white, are just better looking in my opinion. All those bricks, even though they are different, are used to building something new.
For some reason however, when we think about building the church we don’t necessarily see advantage in differences. In fact, when it comes to church we tend to seek out people who look like us, think like us, worship like us, and interpret scripture like us. We want to be around those who love the people we love and hate the people we hate. We want all of the Lego bricks to match.
I confess that it is hard to see how people with massive differences in world view can build a church! We can find ourselves asking: “How can those people think that way? Why can’t she see she’s wrong? Are we even reading the same verse? They want to spend money on THAT?” Maybe I should just pack up and find some “like-minded” souls.
The apostle Paul dealt in differences. He was a bridge that started to bring together two very different groups of people. In a letter he wrote to Christians in Ephesus he explained how it is that Jews and Non-Jews can come together into a new community – a community built on Christ. In the 2nd chapter he writes:
So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are citizens with the saints and also members of the household of God, built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the cornerstone. In him the whole structure is joined together and grows into a holy temple in the Lord; in whom you also are built together spiritually into a dwelling place for God. (Ephesians 2:19-22 – NRSV)
We are being “built together” into a dwelling place for God!
This dwelling place for God is being constructed with bricks that are very different! In the apostle Paul’s day the different brick were Jews and Gentiles. What are the differences today? Republicans and Democrats? Contemporary Worship and Traditional Worship? Liberal and Conservative? Emergent and Neo-Calvinistic? Catholic and Protestant? Blue carpet and Green carpet?
I could go on and on listing the differences between Christians. But they just do not matter. Paul says that in Christ we are no longer strangers and aliens but members of the household of God. Our differences evaporate when we come together in Christ – who is himself the cornerstone of the structure.
It is for this purpose that we are being built together – to become this holy temple – this dwelling place of God.
But the dwelling place of God is not built with identical bricks. It is built with bricks of all colors, shapes and sizes. It is built with conservative bricks and liberal bricks – missional bricks, emergent bricks, orthodox bricks and bricks from the edges of society. It has rich bricks and poor bricks – society bricks and redneck bricks. All of these differences brought together in the power of the risen Christ in whom the “whole structure is joined together”.
We need to realize that it is Christ who is the builder – not us. And Christ has decided to use different bricks. We need to relax and enjoy what is being built – and then find ways to join Christ in building this new community – this dwelling place for God.
Now, I really need to go across the street and buy some Legos.