Monday, April 30, 2012

Al-Masjid al-Ḥarām

The Al-Masjid al-Ḥarām (here in LEGO form by Jojojo) is the most holy site in all of Islam. This site in Mecca is the destination of the annual pilgrimage, or Hajj. Muslims believe that the Kaaba, the black-shrouded stone building in the center, was built by Abraham and Ishmael, and the stone set in its corner came from Paradise. At the time of Muhammad, this structure was a center for idol worship, but Muhammad cleared out these idols and rededicated the building to the worship of Allah. When Muslims pray each day, they turn to face this structure, and all Muslims seek to travel to this point at some time in their lives.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Friday, April 27, 2012

Sagrada Família

The Basílica i Temple Expiatori de la Sagrada Família in Barcelona is the masterpiece of the late Antoni Gaudí. This cathedral was started in 1882, but it is still incomplete. It was consecrated by Pope Benedict only a couple of years ago, and is expected to be complete in 2026. When completed, this cathedral will be one of the most unique and most beautiful in the world, with a modern take on Gothic design features. Harald P recently made a LEGO version as part of the recent Architecture contest on Eurobricks.

Lluis Gilbert made another version.

A much larger version was part of the traveling Piece of Peace exhibit of World Heritage Sites.

Here you can see a close-up of the Nativity Facade from the Piece of Peace display.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Biblical 6x6 Contest

I just noticed the Biblical 6x6 Contest. Unfortunately the deadline was last night, and the winners have already been declared. Third place goes to Ian Spacek's Jonah in the whale.

Second was taken by Büürli Burri's Fall of Jericho. (This was my favorite - I think the action is captured quite well here.)

And the overall winner was Max Pointner's Fishers of men.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012


CarsonBrick built this version of Kinkaku-ji, the famous Zen Buddhist temple in Kyoto.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Basilica di Santa Maria del Fiore

The Basilica di Santa Maria del Fiore (here in LEGO form by Riversari) is the jewel of Florence. It is often simply called the Duomo, which means cathedral or church. The word is derived from the same root as domicile, since this is the 'house of God', but in this case is particularly fitting because it also sounds like 'dome', and Brunelleschi's amazing dome is certainly one of the structural highlights. I've had the pleasure of visiting Florence several years ago, and remember how awe-inspiring it was to be inside this. Also, you can climb up the Campanile (bell tower) built by Giotto, and get a great exterior view.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Old Ebenezer Baptist Church

The Old Ebenezer Baptist Church was founded in 1886 and has a long history in Atlanta. Most prominent to outsiders, though, is the young pastor who joined his father on the staff in 1960, the Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr. Of course we all know his work in promoting nonviolence and fighting against racism in the segregated South, but perhaps some overlook that his religious convictions laid the foundation for this work. For example, I highly recommend reading the book Strength to Love a collection of his sermons, that show how closely his social and political work was tied to his faith. Today the church he preached in is part of the Martin Luther King, Jr., National Historic Site. This LEGO rendition was built by Ryan Wood for inclusion in the Legoland Discovery Center in Atlanta and if you compare it to the original you'll see it's an amazing replica.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Hagia Sophia

In the sixth century, Byzantine emperor Justinian the Great commissioned the Hagia Sophia (Holy Wisdom) basilica (here in LEGO form by Artizan) on the grounds of two previously destroyed basilicas. This was one of the primary sites of the Eastern Orthodox church as the seat of the Patriarch of Constantinople for over 1000 years. For a time it was converted into a Roman Catholic cathedral after forces from the west ransacked Constantinople during the Fourth Crusade. In 1453 Sultan Mehmed conquered Constantinople and converted the city to Islam. The city was renamed Istanbul and the basilica became the Aya Sofya Mosque. In 1935 President Ataturk was reforming Turkey as a secular state, and the mosque changed roles again, becoming a museum so that visitors of all faiths today can enjoy the art and architecture.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Empty tomb

Now upon the first day of the week, very early in the morning, they came unto the sepulchre, bringing the spices which they had prepared, and certain others with them. And they found the stone rolled away from the sepulchre. And they entered in, and found not the body of the Lord Jesus. Luke 24:1-3
LegoKingofFacebook made the empty tomb.

Monday, April 9, 2012


I've noted these classes previously, but last week Stephen Schwartz led a group of children in building Jerusalem. After the kids build different buildings, they are all laid out on a large-scale map of the city, and Schwartz teaches them the significance of different sites and structures.

Saturday, April 7, 2012


Today is the first full day of Passover, the week-long holiday (starting last night at Sundown) commemorating the work of the Lord in bringing the people of Israel out of Egypt. The name "Passover" refers to the tenth and final plague, where God sent the angel of death to take every first-born child, but if the Israelites would put the blood of a sacrificed lamb on their doorposts, the angel would "pass over" their house. The key ritual of Passover is the Seder, the family meal celebrated on the first evening of the celebration. All of the parts of the meal are highly symbolic, as shown in LEGO by Joanna, the Bible Belt Balabusta. The four goblets are for the four cups of wine that Jews drink at specific points in the dinner (at the prayer for sanctification, the retelling of the Exodus, the prayer for blessing and the prayer of praise), remembering the four promises of God to bring them out of Egypt. Matzah (the stack of three 2x2 tiles) is the unleavened bread that is eaten to remember the poverty of the enslaved Israelites. Also, God told Moses to have them make bread without leaven, so they would not have to wait for the bread to rise, and therefore would be ready to go at a moment's notice. The maror (the carrot stalk in a cone) is a bitter herb (usually horeradish), eaten to remember the bitterness of slavery. The charoset (the pink flower) is a paste made of fruit and nuts resembling the mortar used by the slaves to build in Egypt. The karpas (flower stem) is a vegetable, often parsely, dipped in salt water to represent the tears of the Israelites (or maybe the dipping of Joseph's coat in blood by his brothers). The zeroah (the bone) is a roasted lamb bone, for the lamb sacrificed on that first Passover, or for the annual sacrifice at the Temple in Jerusalem. The beitzah (the white minifig head) is a roasted egg, commemorating a festival sacrifice, or mourning over the destroyed temple, or spring. The blue tile is a Haggadah, a small book containing the texts read during the seder. The word 'haggadah' means 'telling', since the main purpose of the ritual is telling the story of the Exodus, particularly to the next generation. And therefore using a child's toy to reinforce this lesson for the children is a particularly appropriate use of LEGO here.

BTW, my apologies to my Jewish readers if I got any of the above wrong. That's based on searching around different websites for explanations of the parts of the seder. I'd be happy to be corrected over anything I messed up.

Friday, April 6, 2012

Good Friday

For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him - John 3:16-17

Christopher Baldacci depicts the crucifixion.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Maundy Thursday

Wes Pitter recreated Juan de Juanes' painting The Last Supper, depicting the moment just after Jesus reveals that one of the twelve will betray him.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Deir el Bahari

In ancient Egypt, the Pharoahs were closely tied to the religious order. They were believed to have descended from the gods. They were needed to maintain ma'at, or the order of the universe, both by maintaining harmony in civil life through their government, but also by leading the nation in religious rituals to sustain the gods, so that they in turn could maintain the cosmic harmony. Finally, their deaths led to their apotheosis, and often temples were built to worship the dead pharoahs. One such is Deir el Bahari (here in LEGO form by HP Mohnroth), built to honor Hatshepsut, who ruled for 22 years in the fifteenth century BC. Interestingly the mortuary temple was officially desecrated, with many of the statues removed. I guess godhood isn't all it may appear if your rivals survive you and get to write the history books.

BTW, this was built for the Architecture Building Contest over on Eurobricks, which has a fast-approaching deadline (this Saturday) if you're interested in coming up with a last-minute entry.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Heather Braaten - HeatherLEGOgirl

Very sad news. The other day I posted on all of my blogs a call for help, that a member of our community was missing. Sadly, her body has been found. No further details are forthcoming at this time. I won't plaster this across all of my blogs, but I'm posting this memory by Lino here, again because a good fraction of the readership of this blog are religious people who believe in prayer. Please pray for Heather, that she may be in peace where ever she is now, and for her family in this tragic time. So sad, particularly in this week that those in my religious tradition celebrate the victory over death.

Holy Week

Last year, Amandamarkel's son illustrated Holy Week in LEGO form.

Palm Sunday:

Clearing the temple on Monday:

Olivet discourse on Tuesday:

Maundy Thursday:

Good Friday:

The tomb on Saturday:

Resurrection on Easter morning: