There are ways of seeing truth that you find and there are some that find you. An illustration found me one day and I wonder if it might serve you and any kids you happen to love.
Get out some playing blocks –the kind kids use to make houses and towers. Leave these alone on an otherwise bare table. Call up a child and invite them to the table, saying, “Make something.” When the child makes something, a little house most likely, you thank him and ask him to stand aside. You tell him that it’s good, and you invite the compliments of other children.
“You’ve made something very nice here.”
Then you knock all the blocks off the table and you point at the empty space where the blocks were. “Make something again,” you say (with a smile). The kid will be puzzled, or laugh. You repeat, “Make something.” (By now you’re all smiling and everyone gets that something’s up.)
You thank the child and ask him to sit down and the lesson teaches itself after that. Questions flow easily, like “Who can make something out of nothing?”
Soon, you have begun to help everyone understand, or glimpse, the beauty and magnificence of God’s power in creation. What’s more, you can begin to help a child see herself as fitting into the world God made, as a creature –but more. We are different than the other creatures because we have the breath (or spirit) of God within us. We are made in his image. And we make things too.
We are not God and that is lesson one (and, since the dragon entered Eden, the one we can’t get past on our own). But lesson two is that we’re made in his image.
God’s glory is unrivaled, his creativity incomprehensible. In creation, he displayed the ultimate imagination at work. He thought of and spoke into existence all that we see, in an artistic unraveling of one marvel after another. Good. Good. Good, on and on. Notice that he first makes a thing –a stage, a canvas–, then things to fill it –players, paint. This is the wonderful pattern of creation.
We have noted before how he makes things for more than survival, but also for thriving. These were the same thing at the beginning. Truth, Beauty, and Goodness were then normal.
So, what about us? We make too, like our Daddy. But unlike him, we need his materials and his tools to do our creations under his creation, what Tolkien called “sub-creation.”
Ecclesiastes says, “God is in heaven and you are on earth,” and remembering the location of the key players is foundational to a proper orientation in life. But this need not always be dower advice, not for children of God. It is both humbling and happy.
Remember your place. Remember your place!
And make something.
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This is part 4 (and probably the last –for a while) of this Blockpile Meditations series. The previous installments were installed thusly… Part 1: Building for Strength and Beauty ::: Part 2: Learning to Love the Slow Work of Creation ::: Part 3: Build and Be Merry, For Tomorrow it Falls
- Make Believe Makes Believers - July 19, 2021
- The Archer’s Cup is Here - September 30, 2020
- It Is What It Is, But It Is Not What It Shall Be - March 30, 2020
James Witmer says
What a fun idea.
I’ve enjoyed every installment of this series. I hope it comes back in the future!
Bryana Johnson says
Good thoughts, Sam.
“Remember your place.” How much that means on so many levels….
Love that you quote Tolkien here :). I’ve been reading his letters recently and wasn’t he one of the greatest spokesmen for creativity ever?
“Although now long estranged,
Man is not wholly lost nor wholly changed.
Dis-graced he may be, yet is not de-throned,
and keeps the rags of lordship once he owned:
Man, Sub-creator, the refracted Light
through whom is splintered from a single White
to many hues, and endlessly combined
in living shapes that move from mind to mind.
Though all the crannies of the world we filled
with Elves and Goblins, though we dared to build
Gods and their houses out of dark and light,
and sowed the seed of dragons- ’twas our right
(used or misused). That right has not decayed:
we make still by the law in which we’re made.”
(J.R.R. Tolkien, Mythopoeia)