Wednesday, October 29, 2014
Communicating the bridge
The classic bridge diagram – simple enough to sketch on a serviette while you talk. This version is courtesy of Bill Hybels’ Just Walk Across the Room.
WE have been contrasting our own bridge-building efforts with God’s story of a bridge already built and open. As we set out to build our own bridges towards a holy God and His standard of righteous living, what we’re doing is working on our behaviour – a bit better here, a bit less angry or selfish there. We are building out from where we have always been, our familiar world where we hold sway; and that’s the place we return to.
God wants us to cross over into His domain. The privileges and earned entitlements do not work there. It’s a bit like moving to a new town where there is a different kind of supermarket. Your carefully saved vouchers and offers are not valid at this one.
Crossing God’s bridge – in which He comes to us as much as we go to Him – takes us into a new realm with much more on offer. The entitlements we thought we had, don’t count now and can be let go.
Before making that crossing, life was bound to tip over into death. In fact, most things were slowly dying, or eroding, or decaying. The Giver of Life was across the chasm, but no method or structure devised by man was capable of bridging it.
This is what you you explain as you take a serviette or the back of an envelope and sketch it out (art college diploma not required!). First there’s the chasm, then the arrow that points to death and finality, but in this life’s experience and eternity. Sketch in the Cross as a bridge. representing Jesus and His victory. That cancels out death and makes a connecting way.
Through Jesus we have free access to God. There isn’t another way. In an age which hates absolutes, the Bible inconveniently tells us that there is no other way to find salvation, except through Jesus.
Acts 4:12 NIV
Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven by which we must be saved.
So where does that leave followers of other major religions? Sikhs already recognise Jesus as a holy man, Jews know of the Bible prophecies concerning the Messiah. For Muslims, Isa Ibn Maryam (Arabic for Jesus born of Mary) is a major prophet who is also called al-Masih (The Messiah). We are in a season where many, many Muslims, particularly in the so-called 10-40 window of the world, are reporting seeing visions of one they recognise as Isa.This picture does not now look so exclusive, so hard to attain for those brought up within other faith structures. The bridge is a bridge that they recognise.
The bridge is both the Cross and the crossing. So get practising with your ballpoint and a supply of table napkins!