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As we continue to look at this parable of the Ekklesia, the Church, we see that the second characteristic revealed by the shape of these living, lenticular pieces is that this “Puzzle of puzzles” is also “edgeless”. Each and every piece being fully interlocking means that this Puzzle simply has no “edge pieces.” Every puzzle maker loves edge pieces. They are easy to spot and are the first pieces to be put together. They form the border and boundaries of the puzzle. Puzzles are much easier to assemble with edge pieces. There is one type of puzzle, however, that does not have edge pieces, and this “Puzzle of puzzles” falls into this unique category.
If you were to move far enough away from this Puzzle, you would see that it is not flat as it normally appears, but that it rather encircles the globe. Flat surfaces all have edges, but the surface of a globe, being spherical, does not. Spherical puzzles, therefore, are “edgeless.”
Most of us have never made a spherical puzzle, so most of us have never made a puzzle without edge pieces. It seems contrary to our “puzzle-making sense.” To put together such a puzzle would require us to relearn how to approach and undertake its assembly.
When it comes to the Ekklesia, most of us have also never been a part of any kind of “collective” that has no “edges.” We like our collective edges. They give us starting places and also frameworks for our “assembly.” As such, they become the borders of our collective, and that becomes a problem when it comes to the “edgeless collective” of the Ekklesia.
You see, the Ekklesia is one colossal, continuous collective that encircles the earth. It has no starting places, and it has no end places. It is also continuously in the process of assembly, so that all of the interlocking “pieces” presently on the “edge” are being regularly added to. Not only so, but various parts of the Puzzle already assembled are being joined to other parts of the Puzzle already assembled so that it is becoming one integrated, inter-connected, unified, universal, edgeless, spherical Puzzle. There just are no straight, non-interlocking edge pieces that section off certain parts of it and make them unable to join and complete the other parts.
But one might ask, are not there local collectives of the Ekklesia that do have edges? Does not the Instruction Manual speak of this ekklesia, and that ekklesia? Do not these represent separate sections of the Puzzle that do have edge pieces?
Well, here is where the lenticular nature of this Puzzle is particularly helpful. As the Puzzle is viewed from the earthly perspective there can be seen what may be called “boundaries” across its surface. These boundaries serve to identify the various local collectives of the Ekklesia. They provide a practical demarcation for the pieces lying within that boundary to be built together in order to display their distinct portion of the lenticular image of the Puzzle. But these “boundaries” are not “edges”, comprised of “edge pieces” as we might suppose. The pieces around and through which these boundaries pass are still fully interlocking and serve to firmly connect it to the rest of the Puzzle.
It is important to note, as well, that these “boundaries” are not established by the local ekklesiae themselves, and therefore do not constitute some kind of religious or spiritual boundary. They are determined rather by the society in which the Ekklesia exists and are simply the established geographical limits of the cities and towns in which she lives. They are the generally accepted and recognized boundaries of social organization and government that are already in place. Therefore, the local collectives of the Ekklesia in the Instruction Manual are called, “the church of (this city) ” and the “church of (that city).” This is what the earthly view of the “Puzzle of puzzles” reveals.
When the heavenly perspective of this lenticular Puzzle is viewed, however, these boundaries cease to exist altogether. According to this view, Christ is the seamless and boundless Image that covers and integrates everything. He is her Unity which cannot be sub-divided. According to this preeminent view, the Ekklesia, the “Puzzle of puzzles”, is indivisible and borderless. The interlocking pieces through and around which the geographical boundaries in her earthly image pass are seen for what they truly are. What look like separate local assemblies in the earthly view are seen to be fully integrated with the other local assemblies from the heavenly view. None are sectioned off and independent. If any sections of the Puzzle are discovered to be bordered by non-interlocking edge pieces, they are instantly recognized as falsely assembled sections. Their nature is simply alien to the nature of this Puzzle.
Since men love to assemble puzzles with edge pieces, the propensity is ever to manufacture edge pieces for the local ekklesiae. This in the end, however, only serves to severely disintegrate, weaken, and distort the”Puzzle of puzzles” and its lenticular image. The only means of deliverance from this insidious propensity is a “ruining revelation” of the Heavenly Image of the Ekklesia. Once this Vision is beheld, everything else becomes clear. When the “Puzzle of puzzles” is assembled according to this Vision, the earthly picture becomes assembled properly as a matter of course.
A fully interlocking, edgeless lenticular puzzle is one of the most difficult puzzles in the universe to assemble. It takes the greatest of skill, the most uncommon and uncanny of wisdom, and the deepest degree of patience to assemble. When it is complete, however, it is a glorious masterpiece worthy to be set on display for all to see. This is the kind of Puzzle that the Master Puzzle Maker is assembling, and the kind of Puzzle that you and I as His living, lenticular, interlocking pieces, are called to be built into and to help assemble. May we be those who are well fit for the Master’s assembly of the “Puzzle of puzzles”, the Ekklesia of the Lord Jesus Christ. This is what we were created for.
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As this parable has been unfolded, has it helped you to see the Ekklesia in a new way?
Has it helped you to see yourself in a new way?
Have you thought of any other aspects of this lenticular puzzle parable that sheds light on the nature of the Ekklesia?
Feel free to share with us your thoughts.
Prior posts in series:
Lessons from a Lenticular Puzzle – Pt. 1: “The Puzzle of Puzzles”
Lessons from a Lenticular Puzzle – Pt. 2: “The Pieces – Living and Lenticular”
Lessons from a Lenticular Puzzle – Pt. 3: “The Puzzle – Fully Interlocking”
“Corporate One-Anothering” (Pt.1 of 2 of chain blog post)
“Corporate UN-Anothering”: It’s Root and Remedy (Part 2 of chain blog post)
“Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?”
When we begin to see that the ekklesia is actually Jesus Christ, we begin to see how He is The Way, The Truth, and The Life of each of us worldwide, and throughout time, seamless indeed, and without border.
This has been my favorite in this series, thanks very much David!
Thank you, Jim. Yes, Paul indeed had that revelation from the moment he was converted and it shaped his entire understanding of the church. The two have become one, and what God has joined together, let no man put asunder. To divide the church into sects, factions, parties, denominations, organizations, etc… is to in affect divide Christ Himself. Only a heavenly revelation of the Christ will deliver us from such things. May the Lord have His church back some day, “on earth as it is in heaven.” May we labor to that end!
As always, thank you for your encouraging comments. You are a blessing!
David, this is a delightful way to describe it. I started a series last year on the church as a network based on similar thoughts to yours. It’s related but different.
Your illustration is great. I have a 3-D jigsaw of the earth and you are right; it is hard to put together.
I can think of one other thought this suggests to me and it’s this… The most important thing for any piece in this puzzle to do it to make sure it is snugly and correctly joined to its immediate neighbours. If all the pieces did that, the puzzle would be perfectly made.
So my job is to make sure that any connections I have are in good shape. And this is surely what Paul had in mind when he wrote, ‘Speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ. From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.’ (Ephesians 4:15-16)
I do my part locally, the Messiah uses it globally. HalleluYah!
Chris, thank you for your comment, further insights and the link to your blog post. I have read this post earlier and liked it very much! I’m glad you can also relate to the difficulty of assembling a lenticular puzzle! Blessings to you as you seek to be “snugly and correctly joined” together with those whom God has put you in proximity with. The Puzzle is being assembled!
Brilliant! Loving this series, David.
Thank you, Chuck. Glad you’re loving it! 🙂 Thanks for the comment! ~David