I am Fascinated by Bridges
How can we bridge the gap between Jesus and our community?
“For there is one God and one mediator between God and mankind, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all people.” 1Timothy 2:5 (NIV)
I am fascinated by bridges. Whether they are rail bridges, covered bridges, huge cable bridges, or simple stone bridges, they all carry an incredible assignment: to carry people over a chasm and to see them on their way to their destination. These physical bridges serve as a practical and functional service for communities.
“We must connect people to Christ, to their identity, their dreams, their God-given destiny and to hope.”
Jesus was a daring bridge builder of another kind. Against overwhelming odds, He imagined a bridge of unprecedented spiritual influence. One that could span a chasm that was roaring with cynicism, indifference, hostility and hopelessness. He imagined a bridge that could connect His people, “My church,” as He called them, to a disbelieving and sceptical world.
The church can no longer simply afford to stand on one side of the great chasm and shout to those on the other side. We must connect. We must connect people to Christ, to their identity, their dreams, their God-given destiny and to hope. I believe that most people want to be connected to Christ but find themselves standing on one side of a cliff and just don’t know how to get to the other side.
“The simplicity of unconditional acceptance is the foundation for the church’s bridge to the world.”
This is where the church can be that city on the hill and that light in the darkness. The way we do this is to help people believe and feel that they belong. Once people sense they belong and know they are accepted unconditionally, they will eventually believe in the One that we represent.
Jesus was willing to pray for people and see them healed even though they had no prior connection to Him. He simply saw their need and reached out to fill it. There were no forms to fill out or hoops to jump through. The simplicity of unconditional acceptance is the foundation for the church’s bridge to the world. Because bridges give life through two way movement, without its own bridges to the world, church life becomes stagnant, isolated, and irrelevant.
Bridge building is a very different work from success building. We can try and build our own success using innovative and cutting edge technology. But without love, compassion and accountability, our bridges will become heaps of rubble and will rust like a saltwater shipwreck.
Because bridges give life through two way movement, without its own bridges to the world, church life becomes stagnant, isolated, and irrelevant.
“Jesus became the bridge between humanity and God Himself.”
Offering a community kitchen, ESL classes and help with other practical needs, our church, The Freedom Center, is connecting to its community in meaningful ways. When Jesus stands as the mediator between God and man, He does so as one who is standing in the gap. He is connecting hopelessness to hope, and we get the privilege of doing the same with people in our community every day. As brokers of hope, we get to embody the bridge-building nature of Jesus Himself. Jesus became the bridge between humanity and God Himself. He laid down His life so that we might have access to the Father.
What are some practical shifts in our thinking and our approach to the world that will help us be the bridge others are counting on to get them to safety? How can we become personal and embody the mediation process that Jesus so beautifully demonstrated to us?
I am looking forward to building bridges within our city and for our city this year. Lives are counting on it. What bridges can you help build?