In life it’s necessary to build bridges of love vertically and horizontally. A vertical bridge must be to God above – Our Heavenly Father. A horizontal one is by loving our families, neighbors, friends and strangers. Jesus who is love died on a cross at Calvary for us. Let such love begin flowing from above and around us, for it unites and sustains us. At its summit, it’s creative, and brings out the best in this broken and divided world. Its flames are indestructible, sweeping across nations, and transforming cultures. It’s also inspirational to love and be loved. Blessed are those who love even their enemies. They are a courageous and merciful lot. Love never discriminates and Christians know how to reach out passionately, with love.
Elisabeth Elliot (b. 1926),Christian author and speaker, observes, “To be a follower of the Crucified means, sooner or later, a personal encounter with the cross. And the cross always entails loss. The great symbol of Christianity means sacrifice and no one who calls himself a Christian can evade this stark fact.” True love is the cross, an ideal bridge to spiritual maturity, because Jesus showed us where there’s loss, there’s truly gain.
A bridge is love for it transports and inspires hope. It calls us to do so to all persons, while proclaiming the risen Christ. By doing so, Christians are strengthened by the Holy Spirit, a fundamental principle of hope. It, like love, has to be fervent and a lamp to light. It awakens justice for all, and especially those who are marginalized in society. Christians are able to find their inspiration through the Bible which speaks directly to their hearts. Brad Henry (b. 1963), member of Democratic Party and 26th Governor of Oklahoma feels, “A good teacher can inspire hope, ignite the imagination, and instill a love of learning.” Learning is the foundation for progress in a country which serves as unique ways of building bridges of hope.
Father – Church’s Pastor
The church is a missionary body. Through its ministries, a pastor constantly builds bridges to his parishioners and community. They reach out to villages and towns around the world. Much of this is done through the religious awakening of the flock. Parishioners and community workers become literally on fire for Christ, when serving their fellowmen and women. In believers’ minds a biblical spirit lingers. Such folks are humble that live according to the teachings of Scripture. They proclaim the Word of Truth to those who hunger for justice. When witnessing they acquire spiritual depth. These men and women are prudent in discernment, embracing pastoral challenges, with vigor and enthusiasm. Known for their charitable works, their presence extends to overpopulated slum areas, of major cities. Robert C. Shannon (b. 1930), retired preacher living in North Carolina, expresses his gratitude for missionary work when he says, “Never pity missionaries; envy them. They are where the real action is – – where life and death, sin and grace, Heaven and Hell converge.”
Obstacles & Misunderstandings
Mother Teresa (1910 – 1997), Roman Catholic religious sister and missionary in India, commented, “Let us touch the dying, the poor, the lonely and the unwanted according to the graces we have received and let us not be ashamed or slow to do the humble work.” Christians must work with and anoint the poor and dialogue with people of different cultures, when seeking ways of bettering their circumstances. There should be more inter-religious meetings with believers of different faiths.
No longer must the center seems as though it isn’t a part of the whole. Osmosis between the center and the periphery must be promoted for everyone to become involved. Access to the sacraments have been a sticking point among some Christian denominations. Why must this be? Since we’re one, in the body of Christ. There are disagreements too, over family rights issues. In some conservative congregations, the definition of marriage has led to splits, and break away denominations. These Christians must realize that they are all concerned about Christian values, although some may be more traditional than others. Isn’t it true that we shouldn’t judge, for only God knows the contents of our hearts? With these controversies, building bridges might not be, as simple as it appears. Our journeys are laden with impediments which continue to divide us. It’s imperative Christians make a greater effort to reach out in their murky landscapes of doubt. Let the Holy Spirit show us the way.