The six year old, aided and abbetted by his sisters, is engaged in a non-stop frenzy of LEGO play – designing, building, destroying and reconstructing in a never ending cycle.
The same LEGO pieces that today are space shuttles and international space stations (the fixation of the week) will tomorrow or next week become underwater bases, pirate ships or pit lane garages on a LEGO-land race track.
Such is the joy of LEGO.
Established in 1932, LEGO have been producing their famed building blocks in an astonishing array of sizes and shapes since 1958. Most amazing is that those first pieces made more than 50 years ago would still join together with the staggering 19 billion LEGO bricks produced by the company in 2010.
LEGO, as any parent of young children will tell you, inspires creativity. You can build nearly anything out of LEGO.
Then tear it apart and rebuilt into something else. It’s the ultimate in re-usable toys.
And so I get to thinking about the church. This institution that is often so stuck in its ways – that even when we try to do something differently, it ends up looking the same. Not just our buildings, but our practices and approaches.
Can you imagine if we, in the church, took the same approach as kids with LEGO? If we felt free to pull down the old structures and practices at a moments notice – free to create a new vision from the same materials and building blocks of the old?
Would that be an exciting church to be part of?
And of course it begs the question….what are the basic building blocks – the irreducible components of church that could be put back together in strange and exciting new ways.
Its tempting to think of words like worship, service, witness, discipleship, mission. But so often when we think of those words, we think of particular approaches or ways. When we think worship, we bring other words along with it – like music, prayer, congregation, minister, liturgy. And that makes it hard for us to truly reshape our practice of church.
What if the basic building blocks, the LEGO pieces, were simpler still? Grace? Mercy? Compassion? Justice? How could we re-create a church around these ideas – free from the need to hold onto our long-standing constructions?
What are the non-negotiables? The essentials? What’s the church equivalent of the basic 8-dot LEGO brick?
What could you create if your church were made of LEGO?