Bridge Building: A Homily by Deacon Jim Hyatt

Photo by Rey Spadoni

The readings today got me thinking about bridges and bridge building. There are some spectacular bridges that capture our attention for their beauty and their function. It is easy to think of the Golden Gate Bridge and its historical significance in our country, or Tower Bridge in London so often cited in the famous nursery rhyme. While bridges are engineering marvels, they functionally serve a critical need for us: Getting across a deep gorge or an impassable body of water. Bridges are critical and make it easy to get to the other side. Without the bridge, we just can’t get there. A hundred years ago, without a bridge, it was nearly impossible to have a relationship with the people who live on the other side.

When we look at the readings today, I think there is a message in there for us about bridge building. The collection of readings and the psalm today are a powerful set of stories for us about what Jesus Christ did for us, and about how the Holy Spirit is part of that most important bridge constructed by Jesus. Let’s take a look.

We all know that at Easter, Jesus Christ built this bridge that spanned the chasm between us and God that was created by what happened at the Garden of Eden. Humankinds’ relationship with its Creator was damaged and this uncrossable chasm was opened that kept us from our Heavenly Father. We could not build that bridge across it, only Jesus could, and that was His one purpose in life, really His mission from the beginning. 

We now know that Jesus Christ is, in fact, that bridge to our Father in Heaven. His life, death and resurrection was the very act of building that bridge. He came for us, He suffered for us, and He died for us so that we might have that rebuilt path to salvation. Jesus is our path, our way to seek forgiveness for our sins as we work to a right relationship with God. A relationship that was made much easier by Jesus our bridge builder. 

But that relationship with God is not automatic. It is available to us, but we have a role and responsibility in it. The gifts of the Holy Spirit change us, it renews our capacity to love God as we should. The Holy Spirit speaks to us in our lives, it helps us to live as we should… if we but listen. Saint Paul today says, “The love of God has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit that has been given to us.” In the Gospel, Jesus Christ called the Holy Spirit, “The Spirit of Truth” because the Spirit “will guide you to all truth” about our relationship with God.  This helps us to see the action of the Holy Spirit and how it animates our lives with gifts to use in our worship of and service to God. 

So the bridge has been built, the Holy Spirit has been sent and we are invited to cross that bridge in relationship with our Creator. But do we? Or do we take that bridge for granted? Are we too busy to cross it daily because we can always get to it tomorrow? Imagine how that makes him feel, being taken for granted, playing second fiddle to our busyness. He suffered immensely and died for us so that we could have that relationship with God, but like any relationship, it take two. Relationships take work and this one is no different… except that it is very different. This relationship has the capacity to change our lives, to make the struggles of life so much more manageable, and to realize we don’t have to go it alone. This relationship promises forgiveness for our sins. This relationship has eternal rewards!  

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