The Making of Meaning of Friendship

This meeting will focus on friendship. With two adjoining assignments you will discover together what friendship does. You will hear everyone’s personal story and share with each other the new insights that the Bible-text gives. Before you go ahead with the assignments, you, again, start off with an introductory exercise.

The following introductory exercise helps to get everyone thinking in metaphors and shows how you can make a non-tangible idea tangible using LEGO.

Build any LEGO structure. It doesn’t have to look like anything, but it must above all be a composition of various Lego parts. Explain that you have built a metaphor with LEGO. Then divide the participants into two or three groups. Give them a piece of paper with the following assignment, and let them read it in silence.

Paper group 1: (Read this in silence) The LEGO model that stands before you is a nice metaphor for “being extremely happy”. Take five minutes to figure out together (without the others hearing) how you’re going to explain this to the other group(s) (so use your imagination :-)).

Paper group 2: Same as above, but with “being extremely cranky”.

Paper group 3: Same as above, but with “being extremely frenzied”.

Let the groups explain to each other what the LEGO model is a metaphor for. That this produces opposing stories will ensure hilarity and will show that it is the story behind the LEGO structure that is important, and not so much the structure itself.

Sample LEGO-building with the introductory assignment.

Give participants the assignment to build a metaphor for what friendship means to them personally. This is primarily not an easy task, but in practice anyone will handle it just fine. It is important to emphasize that participants should not think about what to build for too long, but to get started with the first thought that comes to mind.

12 My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. 13 Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. 14 You are my friends if you do what I command. 15 I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you. 16 You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit—fruit that will last—and so that whatever you ask in my name the Father will give you. 17 This is my command: Love each other.

(NIV-translation)

The story of Renske: ‘At first I had placed my friends around me, and the text was partly about dedicating your life to your friends… and then I thought: why did I place myself in the centre? So that was actually quite an eye-opener for me. […] I just have a large circle of friends, it almost feels like managing. Because of that text I knew: in the end, that’s not really what it’s about.’

Read the Bible-text from John and ask the participants to think about what touches them in the passage. Now read the text again, and give the participants the assignment to alter the LEGO model they have just built about friendship. They may do so at their own discretion by adding or changing things. The point is that they give the Bible – and how it affects them – a place in their own LEGO model about friendship.