Friday, March 17, 2017

Saint Patrick

I arise today, through a mighty strength, the invocation of the Trinity,
Through belief in the Threeness, through confession of the Oneness
of the Creator of creation.

Saint Patrick wasn't just a leprechaun who could drink you under the table, he was also the figure largely credited with bringing Christianity to Ireland. The lines above are the opening of the "Breastplate of Saint Patrick", a prayer attributed to him, emphasizing the Christian doctrine of the Trinity. He supposedly illustrated this doctrine using a shamrock as an analogy. This would really be an illustration of the non-Christian doctrine of partialism, but it makes for a nice story and a good national symbol. Here is a scene of Patrick preaching by David FNJ, and shamrocks by Kreativ Snail and Plucky Duck.




Thursday, March 16, 2017

Purim

This last weekend was the holiday of Purim, remembering when the Jewish people were saved from destruction, as recorded in the biblical book of Esther. Here are some video versions of that story by Stephanie Englander, the Cohen family, AishVideo, and the Jewish Outreach Initiative.









Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Mardi Gras

Christians are currently in the season of Lent, a period of reflection leading up to Good Friday and Easter. Lent typically involves prayer, repentance, and fasting (or other self-denial). Mardi Gras, or "Fat Tuesday", which fell on February 28 this year, is the day before Lent begins on Ash Wednesday, time for one last big party before the more austere season. A few years ago the Krewe of Brickbaron, a group of LEGO builders, came up with this scene based on the festivities in New Orleans, Mardi Gras Madness.



Monday, March 13, 2017

Holi

If you use Google, you probably know that today is the Hindu festival of Holi. This is a spring festival celebrated in India and Nepal, noting the end of winter and the triumph of good over evil, when Vishnu defeated Holika to save Prahlada from being burned. It's a time of renewal, of repaying and forgiving debts, and prayers for destruction of inner darkness. It's become known in the west, though, because after these rituals the people take to the streets to party, and a big part of the celebration is an explosion of color, with people throwing colored powder on each other, or dowsing others with squirt-guns full of colorful dyes, creating great pictures or video that get splashed (see what I did there) across the news around the world. Here we see this depicted in LEGO form by Youmi, Itzlar Chamorro Jorganes, and Marquess Kilian Beck.




Monday, July 25, 2016

Durham Cathedral

The Cathedral Church of Christ, Blessed Mary the Virgin and St Cuthbert of Durham was built between 1093 and 1133 as a Catholic cathedral, but now it is Anglican. For the past three years, a public project has been underway to build a LEGO replica, as a way to raise both money and public interest. It's been fun to watch photos in progress on Flickr and Twitter, and now the last brick has been laid. You can see a lot of in-progress photos here, see some films here, or visit the cathedral yourself and see it in real life, as it will be on permanent display.


Friday, July 22, 2016

Jesus walking on water

Shortly before dawn Jesus went out to them, walking on the lake. When the disciples saw him walking on the lake, they were terrified. “It’s a ghost,” they said, and cried out in fear.But Jesus immediately said to them: “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.” - Matthew 14:25-27

Legozilla designed this mosaic of Jesus walking on water for this year's VBS (vacation Bible school) at his church. He doesn't say, but I assume this was a group project where different kids built squares that were then assembled into the larger mosaic.


Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Eid al-Fitr

I know, I haven't posted in six months. Sorry about that. Anyway, today is Eid al-Fitr, when Muslims around the world celebrate the end of the month of Ramadan. Kamal Muftie Yafi posted this Mosque a couple of days ago that I thought would be appropriate for today.


Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Epiphany

Today is Epiphany, from the Greek word for revelation, where the church celebrates Christ being revealed to the world. In different traditions, this day either focuses on remembering the visit of the Magi (the first revelation of Christ to gentiles), the baptism of Christ by John (where the voice of the Father reveals Christ's identity, the starting point of his earthly ministry), or even the turning of water into wine at Cana (Christ's first miracle). Since I'm here in the west, I'll focus on this as the Feast of the Three Kings, with Monsterbricks' Givers of Gifts.


Monday, December 14, 2015

Advent

If I may be cynical for a bit, Christmas in America is an orgy of consumerism. We begin on Black Friday (the holiest day on the consumerist calendar) and continue shopping till we drop, culminating in a pile of crumpled up wrapping paper on the morning of December 25. After that, we have to quick get those decorations down and put away before the new year rolls around. By contrast, Christmas in the church actually begins on December 25 and leads on for twelve days commemorating the birth of Christ, followed by Epiphany in which Christ is revealed to the world. The days leading up to Christmas are actually a time of prayer, fasting, and self denial (the opposite of consumerism) as we repent and prepare for the coming of Christ (both remembering that first Christmas day but also looking ahead to his return). I know we stand with a foot in each of these worlds, especially as a dad I'm trying to figure out gifts for my kids, but please, try to pause for a moment and remember joy. Yesterday, the third Sunday of Advent, the Joy candle (the pink one - I know, for years I assumed the one that was a different color must be the one right before Christmas) was lit in advent wreaths around the world, and in this LEGO wreath by CJ. Joy to the world, our Lord is coming.


Sunday, December 13, 2015

Hanukkah

Here's a much smaller menorah that a first grader named Maxwell built as a gift for his parents last year. I hope all of my Jewish readers have had a wonderful holiday this year.


Saturday, December 12, 2015

Monday, December 7, 2015

I have a little dreidel, I made it out of LEGO

Jim DeVona gives instructions to build your own dreidel - a top used in a game traditionally played at Hanukkah. In addition to being fun, the game helps remind children that "A great miracle happened there".


Sunday, December 6, 2015

Happy Hanukkah

This evening the first candle will light on menorahs around the world, celebrating the Jewish holiday of Hanukkah. This 14 foot menorah was erected this year outside a synagogue in northern Washington DC. That's not actual LEGO, instead it's EverBlock, a LEGO-like building material. The Rabbi wanted to build something like LEGO, just much larger, and partnered up with the president of EverBlock.



Saturday, October 31, 2015

Happy Reformation Day

In addition to being Halloween, the eve of All Souls Day, which is Día de Muertos in Mexico, and also connections to the occult in some people's view, today is celebrated in Protestant circles as Reformation Day. On this day 498 years ago, Martin Luther sparked the Protestant Reformation by challenging the Roman Catholic teaching on indulgences. Here are two of the giants of the Reformation, on display at Expolorraine 2013: John Calvin (left) and Martin Luther (right).


Thursday, October 22, 2015

Egyptian mummy

In ancient Egypt, the preservation of the body was believed to be necessary for the soul to survive into the afterlife. Because of this, they developed elaborate embalming processes and buried their dead, or at least the rich and powerful, in elaborate tombs. At least for a time, they would leave offerings for their ancestors and ask for their assistance. AnActionFigure made this amazing life-size Egyptian mummy.


Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Bob and Larry

Cody Purviance made Bob and Larry from the Christian children's show Veggietales. Bob the Tomato and Larry the Cucumber tell Bible stories and also have generally silliness, while still reminding kids that "God made you special, and He loves you very much." BTW, even if the cartoon doesn't appeal to you (though it should), you definitely should listen to the show creator's podcast, the Phil Vischer Show.


Monday, September 28, 2015

Sukkot

Last night at sundown Sukkot, or the Feast of Tabernacles, began. This is part a harvest festival but also a remembrance of the Exodus, the years of traveling in the wilderness and depending only on God. During this time Jews build Sukkot, or booths - temporary structures remembering the tent-like homes the people of Israel built during their travels from Egypt to the promised land. These also resemble makeshift shelters built by farmers during the harvest, linking in the harvest-celebration aspect of this holiday. During the week of this celebration families eat their meals and even sleep in these structures built outside their homes. Last year Joanna Brichetto of Bible Belt Balabusta built LEGO Sukkot with grade-school age kids at her local school. Read her article for all of the details on how you can hold your own LEGO event to teach kids about their heritage.



Sunday, September 27, 2015

Mid-Autumn Festival

Today is the Mid-Autumn Festival in China and Vietnam, another of those traditions with roots in religious meanings that is today more of a cultural holiday. This day celebrates the harvest, and focuses on gathering with family and friends, giving thanks, and prayers for future blessings. In its ancient origins, this festival focused on worshiping the mountain gods, a dragon, or the moon god for the crops, and also for the birth of children. Today it is more a day for fun, food, dragon dances, moon cakes, and time with family and friends. Jared Chan made this rabbit--the rabbit is associated with this festival based on the tradition of the moon rabbit, a companion of the moon goddess Chang'e.