Can We #RebuildTheWorld?
Around where we live dozens of Lego advertisements have gone up in bus-stops. Each one displays a striking and colourful bespoke Lego creation, with the same refrain at the bottom: ‘Rebuild the world’.
It’s pretty striking. Even Lego knows the world is broken.
And the big question is: who can do something about it that will actually last?
Is all creation groaning?
Here in the UK the Extinction Rebellion (XR) protests have been taking place over climate change. The aims of the protesters are to get the UK government to declare a climate “emergency” and to legally commit to reducing carbon emissions to net zero by 2025, with a citizens’ assembly formed to “oversee the changes”.
There’s been a lot of controversy about the protests, which seem to have really divided people – even dividing the XR members themselves. But in one online piece, a writer observed some of the XR protesters singing this little ditty:
‘We’ve got all the science / All that we need / To change the world / Hallelujah’.
It’s a revealing lyric. The world is broken and needs transforming, yes. But where is our hope to be found for such transformation? According to XR, in science and in ourselves.
A Bigger Story
Of course we should respond to the claims and evidence of climate change. As the Evangelical Alliance have put it, ‘Loving our poorest neighbours involves us caring about the environment and our climate change.’
But as Christians we frame this within a bigger story of de-creation, hope and transformation. A story where the rebellion that really defines our world is not a rebellion protesting against our government, but a rebellion foolishly protesting against our Creator.
And a story where we are not the fixer-uppers, but where God alone can rescue and redeem.
By the way, these themes are picked up powerfully in Andrew Peterson’s epic song, Is He Worthy?
I’m Part of the Problem
According to the Bible, systemic selfishness – of the kind that has arguably led to climate change – is not simply to be understood in terms of a disregard for God’s creation or a disregard for each other, but ultimately a consequence of hearts that have first turned away from God.
But not dissimilarly, the Bible also exposes the ugliness of humanity seeking to solve the world’s problems without God. Think of the story of the tower of Babel: people plotting to unify the world make a name for themselves without the very God who made them.
To put it another way, when we talk about the problems of our world, all too often we can look everywhere but within. Christians are not immune to this. We can easily distort Christianity into something where we’re simply clubbing together to meet external needs. And so we’ve avoided the fact that we need to be changed ourselves.
(I’ve written more about why we don’t need Cashpoint Christianity or Club Christianity, but Construction-Site Christianity.)
But the Bible’s overall story reveals that not only do we need someone else to rebuild the world, we also need someone to transform the depths of our hearts in the process.
Everything’s Not Awesome
My mate Sam Gibb, pastor at Hope Church Vauxhall, pre-empted Lego’s advertising campaign by running a week of church holiday club material on the whole Bible story and actually using everyone’s favourite plastic bricks to tell the story! You can see a sample of his work in the teaser below:
This summer at Christian Adventure Holidays we did a week of teaching on the whole Bible Story with the help of Lego bricks! We called it Fixed and based it on Christopher Ashes great book Remaking a Broken world. So the hashtag #RebuildTheWorld is very fitting! Here's a peak ? pic.twitter.com/UijsmIfcoe
— Sam Gibb (@samggibb) September 18, 2019
Most of us recognise that everything’s not awesome, but is our diagnosis of the problem sufficient?
If humanity’s failure to steward this world and to love our neighbour is actually evidence of a larger problem, a problem that puts us out of sync with the God who made us, then that has to change where we place our hope and confidence when it comes to a solution.
Sounds like a good reason to turn to the One who says, ‘Behold, I am making all things new’ (Revelation 21:5).