Last week my husband and I went to the cinema and watched the Lego movie. And everything was awesome…
To be honest it ticked all of my inner geek boxes. With references from star trek, wars, gate and lord of the rings to super heroes and super nobodies. On the whole, I enjoyed it very much.
*Some spoiler alerts ahead*
But I was equally interested about the portrayal of the “man upstairs”. The one who gives the rules and enters into the Lego world as President Business. There are two types of people in the Lego world, the ones who follow President Business and live under his rules. They are boring, uncreative, unimaginative and stuck.Then there are other Lego people who don’t follow the rules and they are creative, wonderful and superheroes trying to escape and be free from the rules of president Business.
We meet Emmett. He is a rule keeper, who follows the instructions very closely and lives life in the system. It isn’t until he meets some super creative people, that at some point in the movie he realises that he needs to stop following the instructions and start believing in himself.
As Mariah Carey belts out:
“Who knows what miracles
You can achieve
When you believe
Somehow you will
You will when you believe”
Emmett just needs to believe in himself. And the man upstairs needs to recognise that people need creative freedom and not rules. And he doesn’t have to be such a control freak!
The temptation at this point, for the Christian, is to try to defend this rule giving God. Saying, even though this rule giving God gives out instructions – they are for our good and they don’t trample on our creativity but they free us…
Except we know that being a Christian isn’t about keeping rules or even following instructions. If we do, we enslave ourselves and become a curse. (Galatians 3:10).The rules don’t free us or enable us to have creativity. Instead they bind us and stick us to the floor so we can’t move for fear of displeasing this rule giving god. The rules (law) given to the Israelites were good instructions but they were never going to free or save them. Furthermore those laws were for a specific time, people and purpose.
We are right to reject President Business and the man upstairs with his rule book. And the Lego movie is right – following rules and instructions to find purpose and meaning in life will just destroy us. And so Emmett needs to be free from the rule-giving man upstairs. But how?
Well the problem is, Emmett believes the lie that he needs to look inside himself to find the truth. That somewhere in his inner being, he just needs to believe in himself. (Queue Mariah Carey).
The mantra in our society is to believe in yourself. To look within and find meaning, truth and hope.That if you are a boring nobody, you just need more belief so you can be a somebody.
But the reality is, there is nothing in you that can help you. You can’t help yourself. Our hearts are corrupt and following after desires that aren’t good for us.
Instead the answer is outside of ourselves. To someone who gives life, who bore the curse of the law so you don’t have to, who accepts you even if you are an ordinary person or a superhero.
True Freedom and life is only ever found in Jesus.
This is true for Emmett and for us. It cannot be found in following the instructions nor can it be found inside of ourselves.
The man upstairs, our Father, is not standing there with a glue gun ready to paralyse us under his instructions. Instead he is a Father who sends his Son into the world, to give us life and freedom because he knows that we can’t keep the rules and we can’t find freedom within ourselves and we can’t solve this mess we are in, only he can. The man upstairs, is nothing like the one in Lego Movie, he is far better.