This past week our nation once again was rocked by a tragedy that touched everyone. In the twin cities of Minneapolis and St Paul, Minnesota, the evening commute was at its worst. There was a Twins Game that night and so thousands of people were added to the traffic.
Suddenly the unthinkable happened. The main bridge separating the two cities began to tremble and quake, and then collapsed. Concrete heaved. Metal tore and cars and trucks and school buses began to plunge 60 feet into the Mississippi River.
I think that one of the reasons this touched us all so deeply is that we have come to rely on bridges to get us safely across the chasms we face every day. When I was sent to New York after 9/11 immediately after the attack to help the families of the victims, I had my own unsettling thoughts about bridges.
The team of chaplains with whom I served was headquartered at the Coast Guard activity on Staten Island. That meant that twice a day we had to cross the Verazano Bridge to get to Manhattan. There were numerous threats to blow up that bridge and more than once traffic was stopped while they searched cars for bombs. In the middle of that bridge, I began to have anxious thoughts about whether or not we’d safely reach the other side.
We get to live in one of the prettiest towns in America. Cottage Grove, Oregon is known as the Covered Bridge capital. Every time I see one of our covered bridges, I am reminded that these bridges were built a long time ago and they are still here.
Donald McGavran is known as the Father of Modern Missions. He wrote an important book years ago which he entitled, The Bridges of God. In it he observed that there are natural bridges that already exist in people groups, such as family or tribe relationships, job relationships and interest relationships.
We are such bridges.
That’s right. We have natural relationships with people already which can serve to be the bridge by which they can find their way to safely get to Jesus. Bridges, however, need to be safe. That means that they need to be inspected periodically and, if needs be, repaired. A reporter observed that there are some 70,000 bridges in America that probably need to be repaired. So this morning, I want to preach a message entitled, "The Bridges of God." Let’s get busy.