A new Choluteca Bridge, also known as the Bridge of Rising Sun, was commissioned in Honuras in 1998, the same year that Hurricane Mitch roared through the country. Many bridges were significantly damaged, some destroyed. But the new Choluteca Bridge was designed to withstand just such a storm. It remained intact with no significant damage. There was a problem, however. The storm changed the course of the river.
I once heard a senior missionary in a supervisory position talk about the metaphor of this bridge for ministry. He went on to talk about how mission and ministry needs had changed but the structure of our denomination had not. The case was being made for the need to restructure in order to accommodate to new settings. Numerous other persons have used this image as a metaphor for the need for flexible leadership in changing settings.
While the world continues to change, and the structures we use must address that reality, there is also a deeper metaphor in this picture. Unlike the river, the nature of sin has not changed. God’s declaration of what sin is has not changed. Our propensity for sin has not changed. And through it all, thank God, Jesus, our bridge is still standing, still fully functional.
The Messiah’s arms spread wide enough on the cross to embrace a multitude of sins, if we will but turn. There is no other way to bridge the gulf. There is no means to get around, over, under, through or otherwise past the deep crevice we have created by our willful sins.
There are those who will claim that we no longer hold to the outdated morality of our fore-bearers, that they did not understand what we do, that our understanding of sin has changed like the river and some blood-spilling, sin-atoning savior is unnecessary.
The lesson with which we need to be concerned is the reality that the storms of life, the influence of culture and non believers lead to misdirected rivers which cannot be crossed, for which there is no functional bridge, leaving an insurmountable gulf.
In 2003 the highway was reconnected to the Choluteca bridge, it was too valuable to lose.
*Bridge illustration by The Navigators
So too there is hope for us, that though the storms of sin rage against him, Jesus is still the indestructible bridge and those who want to cross will eventually need to redirect their roads to him. The church may change is structure. Society may change its standards, but the faith remains the same. Jesus is the Way, the Truth, and the Life. And he is the only bridge to life. The One who Himself is Truth. Isn’t it time you reconnected?