I recently had the joy of marking off ‘Rafting the Royal Gorge in Colorado’ from my bucket list. One of the great moments of the adventure is passing under the Royal Gorge Bridge, standing 90 stories above the Arkansas River. The Royal Gorge Bridge, constructed in 1929, holds many memories.
I first passed over the bridge in a car in 1968 – long before stabilizing cables were added in 1982. Undoubtedly, it was the most frightening bridge crossing in my life. The bridge literally swayed in the wind as my Uncle Wally drove us across the treacherous span.
Perhaps I was suffering from Gephyrophobia – the fear of bridges. Was I crazy? Not according to Dr. Michael R. Liebowitz, founder of the Anxiety Disorders Clinic at the New York State Psychiatric Institute, who told the New York Times that the fear of crossing bridges is very common.
Just ask the 1,400 drivers who have refused to drive across the Mackinac Bridge that connects Michigan’s Upper and Lower Peninsulas. Winds regularly blow across the bridge at 30 mph with gusts reaching much higher. The drive across the five-mile long bridge is so frightening to come that the state of Michigan provides – free of charge – designated Mackinac Bridge Authority bridge drivers. It is their sole job to get into your car (or motorcycle!) and drive it across the bridge at no charge. No tip required – thank you.
In one sense, pastors are bridge drivers. Bridges are connectors. Pastors are connectors. When the pastor works with the couple that can’t seem to relate to one another – they are being used of the Lord to bridge the relationship. When pastors strive for peace between business partners locked in conflict, they are bridging the struggle to bring reconciliation. When the pastor talks with a parent about communicating with an estranged child, they are building a bridge. When pastors build bridges, they are a faint reflection of the ultimate bridge builder.
The story of Christmas is the story of the decisive bridge builder who sent his son to be the bridge. Genesis 28, coupled with John 1 describes Jesus as the stairway between God and man. Jesus is the bridge between the Divine and humanity.
All bridges serve a purpose, whether utilitarian or inspirational. Yet, God’s Divine Bridge is the greatest bridge the world has ever known.