The Swinging Bridges on the Grist Mill Trail.
The Key Bridge, the Chesapeake Bay Bridge, the Severn River Bridge,
and that really, really tall magnificent bridge you go under on I-70 heading to Western Maryland.
The Causeway from the mainland to Chincoteague Island, the Bethany Lane bridges.
And the Route 100 Bridge.
Once you start noticing them, bridges are everywhere,
joining one piece of land to another piece of land for access or ease of access.
They get us from here to there.
They can be impressive or simple,
architecturally interesting or less interesting but equally as functional none-the-less.
What’s the most interesting bridge you’ve crossed?
Which is the one that somehow makes your life better than it would be otherwise?
During this Black History month, Pastors Andrew and Dawn are leading us
in a sermon series called “Building Bridges” because sometimes
(probably way more than sometimes)
the “there” we need to get to is the loving others as Jesus has loved us…
and by others Jesus meant every other human regardless of race, creed,
country or language of origin or the way they do life.
But the thing about bridges is that someone has to build them.
Bridges require intentionality, thoughtfulness and desire.
Jesus, who bridged for us the gap between sin and forgiveness,
between death and life, between the gates of hell and eternity spent with the Father,
shows us how.
In a LOT of ways.
But one of my favorites is that
He ate with them.
He ate with sinners and tax collectors and women.
I would imagine he ate with the 5000 he fed with those scant 5 loaves and 2 fish.
He ate with his closest companions who were the very same ones who
would abandon, deny and betray him.
Jesus ate with every one.
Sharing a meal is a beautiful way to build a bridge;
It feeds, nurtures and expands our love for others.
I am learning to make time for that because
my own capacity to love has grown exponentially
at kitchen tables and dining tables and picnic tables
shared with people whose appearance, culture, language
or way of doing life are different than mine.
But then Jesus shows up and
always, always, always
at the root of it all,
my dining companions and I find
we share the same concerns for family and friends and our world.
and the Holy Spirit fills the chasm I had thought to be between us
by increasing my
and wanting the best for them.
“We are more alike, my friends, than we are unalike.” ― Maya Angelou
I mention this eating together thing because
well, because for one thing
Pastor Andrew mentioned it in his sermon last Sunday (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0gkqO2OOoME )
and all week long I’ve craved egg drop soup
and anything with Madras curry.
But also, and more importantly, because
I think so very often we think building bridges of Christ’s love is complicated.
And it can be.
But it also might be as simple as sharing a meal.
‘Mother Teresa of Calcutta said, “To show great love for God and our neighbor we need not do great things. It is how much love we put in the doing that makes our offering something beautiful to God.”’
I found that quote in the February 25th entry of one of my favorite devotionals,
Common Prayer: A Liturgy for Ordinary Radicals (https://www.amazon.com/Common-Prayer-audiobook/dp/B004WLO4FA/ref=sr_1_1?crid=27JK8R1HXLBE&keywords=common+prayer+a+liturgy+for+ordinary+radicals&qid=1676035712&sprefix=Common+Pra%2Caps%2C166&sr=8-1&redirectFromSmile=1 )
which also included this beautiful line for February 1st:
“We are happy at your table, Lord. Make us happier still to extend it.”