The following is written by Len Bundy of WonGeneration:
I don’t know about anyone else, but I have been enjoying the recent warm, sunny days. Largely because I indulged myself in a toy – 1980 motorcycle! So my mode of transportation on these nice days has been missing since the early 1980s. Enjoying the feeling of the sun, the wind and the power of the bike has been great…with a few exceptions.
I had forgotten what a pain it is to ride a motorcycle in stop-and-go traffic. When you drive a manual transmission car, stop-and-go traffic is bad enough but I’m used to that and, of course, when you are stopped in a car or truck, you don’t have to worry about your mind wandering and your truck falling over! But on a motorcycle, it is important to not forget what you are doing. And as you are not distracted by things inside your vehicle (since there really isn’t an inside) your mind contemplates those things outside, all around you.
Now, some of those things are pleasant. The incredible view of Mount Rainier, the smells of the farms, being a little more connected perhaps to some of the birds and animals as you travel by.
But then there are times when traffic doesn’t move – from accidents, from “too many cars, not enough pavement” or, dare I say it, a bridge over the White River and the traffic toward Bonney Lake on any given late afternoon. And there you are, straddling a very hot piece of metal, sucking up exhaust fumes, watching people on their cell phones, all the while being reminded something is drastically wrong with this world! After all, why is this not going the way I want it to go. And what is this sign ahead telling me this bridge will be closed?
All these thoughts race through my mind: What will this do my travel? How much longer will it take me to travel around? What if they don’t finish on time, how will that impact my schedule? And what if something goes wrong and it takes more than a week?
Our roads were not really designed for us staying still on them. They were designed for us to be traveling along, preferably at the speed limit. So when someone does something to cause a crash (conflict), everyone else along the way is impacted and delayed from getting to their own destination. There are some other impacts…our fuel economy goes down, our anxiety goes up and sometimes drivers “go off.” We’ve either seen it first-hand or been the ones going off.
And that got me thinking about another bridge…
In the same vein, you and I were designed for so much more.
Every day, all of us are in a different kind of traffic. We are trying to move toward something better than where we are. In simple terms, if we are hungry, we move toward getting something to eat. If in need of income we move toward our jobs (or getting one). We have need of connecting with someone else so we move toward another person in some level of relationship. And, like traffic outside, there are at times “back ups” as we pursue our goals.
Many times we come down to a bridge, stuck in a long line, trying not to get frustrated. Our bridges are to get us over dangerous things in our lives which we don’t want to fall into. These might be destructive habits, or attitudes which cause people to reject us, or struggles with mental health issues, or even the remnants of abuse to ourselves which keeps us from merging into the current stream of life. For many, their bridge feels more like a bouncing suspension bridge designed to toss them into the raging waters below.
Fortunately, there is a better bridge. It is a healthy church community.
Let’s take a quick look at the components of this bridge. First, it should be based on solid Biblical teaching. Every basic challenge we encounter in life has been experienced by others and are all in scripture. In some cases, those in scripture handled it well, in some cases not so well and we can learn how to approach our challenges accordingly. Second, a healthy church community is an active community. Within are connection points for people. Both those who are able to help and those who are in need. It may take a little time to recognize who to talk to or where to go exactly. It may be we must be a little bit bolder about “merging in” but it may be what it takes to find the support, the advice, the wisdom our situation needs. And remember, a part of our own need is in supporting others.
When Jesus summed up the laws and the words of the prophets, it came down to two things. When he was asked what was the greatest commandment, “Jesus replied, ‘You must love the LORD your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. A second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ The entire law and all the demands of the prophets are based on these two commandments” (Mt. 22:37-40 NLT).
Third, a healthy church community will be talking about all the real issues of life. The annoying squeal of our brakes when they are in need of replacement is a sign something needs to be fixed. If your mechanic said, “Don’t worry about that noise, it will stop eventually.” You would find a new mechanic. As people in a community of believers, we are called to be willing to confront one another in love to deal with our own squeaks, squeals, and causes for grinding. We are called to help each other be better spouses, better humans, better citizens.
And most importantly, a healthy church community will be talking about Jesus – a lot!
Jesus is the ultimate bridge builder. He used his very body to be the foundation for what gives us the ability to be changed, transformed and redeemed. He demonstrated all of the above. He loved people, he confronted people, he fed people, he healed people, he provided a way for people and a direction and he demonstrated the Father’s love. He showed what it is to serve and how important it is to care for others. And most important, he invites every one of us into his community. And I promise you, this is a bridge that is never closed and there is a lane for us all to cross.