Legos, Pillars and the Temple

When I was little I often preferred Legos to Barbies. That’s not to say that at some point there wasn’t a large box filled with chopped hair, markered face, scandalously naked dolls in my room (I tended to not like outfits on my Barbies, but did like to cut their hair thinking it’d grow back). But there was a large red bucket of Legos that I would avidly drag out more times than not. The reason being is that I loved to build things. To construct and design what I wanted, just the way I wanted it.

legosMy own community, created and orchestrated by my hand.

If I am honest, I haven’t changed much in that mentality from those days of playing with those Legos. I like community on my terms, even when it comes to those in the Christian faith, my very brothers and sisters in Christ. Yep, I’m admitting that frankly it’s alot easier to be with and listen to people who I choose. To not be challenged to love harder and think deeper, to sit in judgement rather than in the hurt and compassion of others. I like community on my times and in my orchestration.

And yet, that’s not how the body of faith is built. And it most certainly isn’t how I am called to be a part of it either.

So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone, in whom the whole structure, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord.

Ephesians 2:19-21 (ESV)

I am being fit into the building of His very holy temple. The imagery here points back to when the pillars were built on structures, and no seams were seen on how rocks were smoothed and sanded to fit, to mold into one specific structure with complete unity.

That means I am being fit in to the very structure that has laid the likes of Paul, John, and Esther alongside the ones I find difficult in the church, brothers and sisters I would “rather not” with. It means I am being sanded and smoothed down to fit in complete unity with them too. My roughness and scratchiness smoothed out to be in community in order to build a seamless temple for the Lord. His holy Church, the Bride He awaits.

And I really don’t like that idea because it butts up against my selfish nature, my comfort and my idea of control in what community is for me, for the church. And y’all it’s just plain ugly. To live in the comfort and security I have created and ordained as “good and right” rather than what He has defined as the Church. It humbles me to think of the selfish nature and my personal preference has taken the prime spot of life instead of listening intently for where I am supposed to be in the community of God.

It means disagreeing in love, it looks like uncomfortable silences and awkward reintroductions. It means giving forgiveness when I really just want to be self-righteous in my pride. Most of all, it looks like a seamless temple being built not out of my design but out of His.

If You Build It…

I loved Legos as a child. Who am I kidding? I still love Legos as an adult. Let me just say though, they used to not be that fancy. When I was younger I had a red twist-top barrel chock full of Legos of every size and shape. You had the world at your fingertips to create whatever it was you were in the mood for. Now it’s alot of pre-designed, build it from the instructions provided, type of Legos. Don’t get me wrong, they are fun and my nephews have a blast. I really wonder what’s going through their minds as they play with their Ninja Legomen, or build new people for their Lego sets.

I began to think about that as I contemplated today’s post for Questioning Tuesday. In examining relationships and the building blocks that are foundational to who we are as humans, I realized we’ve grown accustomed to these pre-fab relationships. They come pre-packaged, shiny, and easy to assemble. However, our lives aren’t made of plastic blocks and easily fit together pieces. We are intricately woven individuals (Psalm 139:12-14) who live in a broken world. In too many cases I can relate to, I see relationships falter and rip apart because it’s easier.

It is easier to tear something apart than it is to build something up. You can write and write and write, and in three seconds rip it in half and start again. You can build a friendship over several years, only to say one wrong thing, the very thing you know will be hurtful and damaging, and it will all be over.

Building up takes time. It takes careful preparation and energy. Energy that we too often like to say we don’t have. We have the energy, we don’t have the vulnerability very much. Tearing down only takes that moment of intent and destruction to accomplish it’s purpose.

My question for you today is what are you taking intentional time and vulnerability to build up? If you’re not, who can you begin to stake a claim in to build up a relationship?

 

1 Thessalonians 5:10-12: He died for us so that, whether we are awake or asleep, we may live together with him. Therefore encourage one anotherand build each other up,just as in fact you are doing.