Bridges of Hope

In life it’s necessary to build bridges of love vertically and horizontally.  A vertical bridge is to God, Our Heavenly Father.  A horizontal bridge is by loving our neighbors, friends, and strangers.  Jesus Christ who is love died on a cross at Calvary for us.  Let his love flow from above for it unites and sustains.  Its flames are indestructible as if sweeps across our nation transforming people of faith.  It’s inspiring to love and be loved.  Blessed are those who love their enemies, for they are a courageous and compassionate lot.  Elisabeth Elliot (b. 1926), a Christian author and speaker said, “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 and a bridge to spiritual maturity because Christ showed where there’s loss there’s gain.

A bridge inspires hope.  It requires lifting people up and proclaiming the risen Christ.  As a fundamental belief Christians are strengthened by the Holy Spirit.  Hope like love is joy, and a shining light.  This means justice for those who are marginalized in society.  And believers find inspiration through the Word that speaks directly to their hearts.  Brad Henry (b. 1963), Governor of Oklahoma wrote, “A good teacher can inspire hope, ignite the imagination, and instill a love of learning.”  Learning that’s the foundation of progress builds bridges of hope.

Concerns for Others

The church is a missionary body.  Through their ministries a pastor builds a bridge to communities and the world.  This is accomplished by motivating his or her flock.  Parishioners become literally on fire for Christ as they serve their brothers and sisters.  And they teach the Word of truth to those hungering for justice.  Men and women who embrace these pastoral challenges are enthusiastic innovators.  Their charitable work extends to the slums in cities.  Robert C. Shannon (b. 1930), a preacher said, “Never pity missionaries; envy them.  They are where the real action is – where life and death, sin and grace, Heaven and Hell converge.”

St. Teresa (1910–1997), a Roman Catholic religious sister and missionary in India wrote, “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 should work with the poor and help change their ways.  They should also attend inter-religious meetings to promote these goals.

No longer must God appear, not to be part of the whole.  Having access to the sacraments has been a sticking point among some Christian denominations. Why should this be?  Christians are taught they are one in the body of Christ.  In some congregations the definition of marriage has changed, and led to breakaway denominations.  Christians are concerned about values, although some are more traditional than others.  Why should believers judge?  God knows of our hearts.  With controversies building a bridge to others isn’t easy, but is still necessary.

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