Give a kid thousands of tiny little bricks and the freedom of imagination, and he or she will spend hours creating and configuring and combining with other toys… I’ve also always been a fan of space dramas, particularly Star Trek and Babylon 5. Much of my childhood was spent creating spaceships and space stations engaged in intergalactic combat for the fate of the universe. The possibilities were endless with a slew of little bricks in hand…
One of the best things about Lego is that the bricks come in all sorts of shapes, sizes, and colors. You can make something monochrome, if you want, but you also can make something crazy and cool, with the pieces placed in the order you desire to tell the story you want to tell.
Proof that Lego is a grace gift of God (again, in my opinion): that’s exactly what he does with his church.
1 Peter 2:4-12 talks about the church corporate and the individual members of it in terms of bricks and a building. If we have come to Jesus for salvation, hearing his word and tasting of his goodness (1:22-2:3), then we have come to the living stone, the precious cornerstone who was rejected by man (betrayed and crucified) yet chosen and placed by God (2:4, 6-8). Either we stumble over this stone, Jesus, rejecting him for our sin and remaining in condemnation; or we build our lives upon this sure foundation, receiving his grace and life everlasting.
As Jesus is the living stone, so we also are as living stones—bricks being placed and shaped together as “a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ” (2:5).
In Exodus 19:5-6, God promised his nation at the base of Sinai, “If you will indeed obey my voice and keep my covenant, you shall be my treasured possession among all peoples, for all the earth is mine; and you shall be to me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.” They ran into the problem, though, that they could not obey his voice and keep his covenant. Instead of dwelling in the promises, they suffered the curses laid out in Deuteronomy 28:15-68.
That is until one man came, Jesus, the chosen son of Abraham who did obey God’s voice and keep his covenant without fail. His life, death, and resurrection brought about a new covenant with a redeemed people. So that not in themselves but in Christ, Peter could now say of God’s people not you will be but “you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession” (2:9).
From this identity in Christ, each of us a brick in a spiritual house with him as our cornerstone, we find our acceptable spiritual sacrifices:
That you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. Once you were not a people, but now you are God’s people; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy. Beloved, I urge you as sojourners and exiles to abstain from the passions of the flesh, which wage war against your soul. Keep your conduct among the Gentiles honorable, so that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day of visitation (2:9-12).
Together we shine a light in a sin-darkened world: the light of the gospel, the good news and the greatness of the one who plucked us out of our own darkness and sin so we could live in his light. He gave us mercy and grace. We give him praise. He gave us life. We live it, waging war against sin and living in a way that honors him and tells of his goodness to the world in which we dwell as sojourners.
Brought together, brick by brick, as God’s spiritual house, the basics of our stories are the same: we were sinners, condemned and under judgment, in need of salvation, and God saved us and gave us new life.
Yet this basic story plays out in different detail with our diverse experiences and backgrounds. More than this, even after we become living stones we are not all 2X4 gray bricks that look the same over and over again.
As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace: whoever speaks, as one who speaks oracles of God; whoever serves, as one who serves by the strength that God supplies (4:10-11).
Peter summarized what Paul described in greater detail in 1Corinthians 12-14. Each of us has a different look, a different shape. We come with different talents, experiences, resources, and personalities. Even in the gift of the Spirit, we receive diverse spiritual gifts. God has chosen each person and gift, and God has placed us exactly how he wants us in his temple, his family, and his body—the church.
In a great diversity founded upon and built by the Father, Son, and Spirit, we are unified in a way which will shine the light to change the world. “In a Christian community, everything depends upon whether each individual is an indispensable link in a chain. Only when even the smallest link is securely interlocked is the chain unbreakable” ~ Dietrich Bonhoeffer , Life Together.
In our beautiful, crazy, diverse, Lego brick life as church, God has made each piece different, yet necessary to the rest and depending on the rest.
Ask the question: to declare God’s greatness to the world and to show them the goodness of life in him, what has God given you as a living stone to serve in his church?