Monday 27th March
Cup of tea or glass of wine, depending on the mood I’m in. Possibly the radio on, possibly a podcast, again, depending on my mood, some chocolate and a shiny new Lego set to build. That’s my idea of a relaxing evening alone.
Yes, I know, I’m a nerd!
I find building Lego sets relaxing because it requires enough attention and concentration to keep my mind from wandering to anything that might be stressful, but not enough to be tiring. It’s easy, the instructions tell you how to build it step by step, what order to build it in, where each piece goes, and if you’re really stuck there’s even an app that gives you the instructions in 3D. At the end there’s always a few extra bonus pieces in the box that you didn’t need to build the set.
My boyfriend likes a jigsaw. He likes the challenge, the fact it doesn’t come with instructions, just a picture of how it’s supposed to look. He never does the edges first, he says that as long as it looks like the picture on the box in the end then you’ve got it right, however you went about achieving it. He’s fairly scatty and there have been several occasions when we’ve both been searching the floor for a missing piece so he can finish his jigsaw (and take a photo!)
I realised today; we’re not Lego, we don’t come with instructions This realisation hit me when I heard a Christian referring to the bible as “the manual,” indeed, some Christians do view the bible as an instruction book on ‘how to human’ with exact rules of what to do and what not to do and when to do it and when not to do it.
But it’s not. It’s a collection of stories that make up a bigger narrative; the story of God’s relationship with humanity (told from humanity’s perspective) Like most stories there’s lessons to be learned from it, but it’s not “how to be a human for dummies” it gives us a spirit by which to live, an ethos, guiding principles. Not exact instructions. It’s more like the picture on the outside of a jigsaw box, and we’re expected to put in some thought and some work in working out how to get to that picture, of how it’s supposed to be. That’s how we grow.
Not only do we not come with step by step instructions, but we also don’t come with extra pieces… at the end there will be no “leftover humans” who are surplus to requirements, God created every human being to reflect God’s glory, and every human being is necessary for that. We need each other, we are interconnected, all of us, not just those who are like us, those who slot into the picture alongside us, but all of us. My boyfriend says the edges are boring, but his jigsaw would look a bit rubbish at the end without them. Maybe we feel the same, maybe we think those on the edges of our communities are a bit odd, a bit weird, maybe even a bit unpalatable, but we need them. How frustrating is it to spend ages working on a jigsaw, get to the end and find one piece missing? Just one. It might be just one piece but it’s not the same without it. I guess that’s why Jesus leaves the 99 sheep behind to go and find the lost one.