Monday, June 1, 2015

Building the Kingdom with Less-than-Ideal Materials

Photo from Pixabay.
So, this weekend, we went on vacation to the Sand Castle Festival in Galveston.

It was a whole world of fun. The weekend included Pitter patter’s very first trip to the beach. She found the waves really captivating, and she kept running into them without any trepidation whatsoever. And she kept trying to drink the water, much to our chagrin.

But the real highlight of the trip was going to watch the early stages of building on Saturday morning (we couldn’t stay all day, because Pitter Patter is really miserable in the afternoons if she doesn’t get her nap)… We hoped to return Sunday to see the finished products, but it poured Saturday night.

Some of the work you see at these festivals are really incredible. Photo ops like the one at the top of this post are not uncommon.

Many festivals include an amateur division, which I probably would have wanted to try, had we not had a toddler in tow. (Also, I don’t think this particular festival had an amateur division - if it did, I didn’t see anything about it.)

I have done a little reading on the construction of Sand Castles (you know, just in case I ever get a chance), and one of the first pieces of advice that they give to amateurs is to refine your materials by sifting all of the debris out of your sand. This will make it so that later, when you’re trying to add details to your sand castle, you can remove bits of sand with the confidence that you will not discover a leaf or shell in the mix that pretty well destroys whatever you were about to do.

This is a fairly biblical concept, and also construction common sense. When you start to build, you do so by laying a cornerstone - the best of the available materials.

Christ is that cornerstone, a flawless place on which to begin building the Kingdom. The rest of us are chock full of shells and leaves and rocks, and places where the sand breaks funny for some unknown reason.

But it is this very fact that makes God so manifestly far above us. He is building his kingdom in this world, using - not the best materials - but the materials that volunteer and ask to be used. These volunteers have sinful pasts, and are probably even struggling against sin in their lives when they are used. They are not the ideal materials.

God, knowing this, and knowing us inside and out, is able to remove our faults, and make us into more ideal materials. In spite of our impure, fragile natures, he is able to use us to build a beautiful, incredible kingdom that is resilient enough to withstand the wind and waves of this world, and with the kind of intricate beauty that could only come from the master architect.

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