The play of the individual is about the development, expression, triumph of the one rather than the many. It is the part that play takes in the self-actualisation of the human being, the fulfillment of the potential of a person through the medium of play. Think of your own experiences and you will find it’s certainly true that those things that we find we love to do more than anything else move us to a place where we become and express ourselves in a very fundamental way. Those pursuits can be solitary (playing guitar, reading books, hiking) or they can be achieved with others (playing rugby, going to a festival, being part of a political movement) but our enjoyment of them boils down to a fundamental moment where we are most ourselves.
Every day Christianity runs the risk of being focused not on the individual but on what the individual brings to the community. Church is communal, we are encouraged to attend events together, we are worried if our friends stop going to church or meeting in house groups. We sing in choirs, we speak the words together. And there is little focus any more on the individual expression that allows us to come close in a quite different way to God. I am not talking about being literally alone. I am talking about finding that thing in which you are most fundamentally you and in which you paradoxically lose yourself. For me it’s playing the piano. I find time disappears when I am playing and I forget almost that I am playing.
If we don’t take time to be an individual we run the risk of becoming what other people want us to be – and unfortunately that isn’t what God wants. God created us as individuals, unique, special. Each of us is like a work of art by Michelangelo – you can’t create a knock off the value is in the artist’s original vision.
Whatever playful expression is most fundamentally what you enjoy (bearing in mind my assumption that by being here you are turned towards God and therefore it’s not ripping the wings of flies or worse!) then playing in that space is part of what God has fundamentally created you to do.
At Easter we remember a human who was able to use his own individuality and refusal to be what others wanted him to be to save all of the rest of us. This is what God can do if we allow ourselves to be truly who we are and we find some of that vision in the playful expression of our souls.