Building Bridges

Lara Schopp Articles, Carla Aday, Senior Minister Blog

Suddenly all the cars behind me were honking. Some folks were shouting obscenities in the direction of my orange hatchback. A uniformed official was waving at me and walking towards me. How was I supposed to know that exact change didn’t mean paper bills and coins equaling $3.50 but rather coins totaling $3.50? It was my first year driving from Texas to Connecticut for grad school and here I was stuck at a toll gate in New York City at the huge Tri-borough Bridge. Would I ever get to cross the bridge? Or would I perish right here?

Perhaps you have crossed a bridge in your lifetime that also seemed frightening or exhilarating or unlikely. Many years later I hiked across the Brooklyn Bridge, just for fun, but perhaps it was a psychological win to cross the bridge without incident. And I have walked across the 2.7 mile Ravenel Bridge in Charleston. The Golden Gate is still on my bucket list.

At the church we are crossing bridges too. How shall we bridge the two thirds of our faith community still worshiping via live stream with the one third of our folks worshipping in person? What is the connecting point between the dozens of young families, young singles, and new residents who are currently visiting on Sunday with those in our church who share a similar life journey but for health reasons are still worshipping from home? Is there a way to bridge our shut-in and out-of-town worshippers with those active in groups and classes in person? How do we honor our traditional past with a modern future? At times when I ponder these questions, I feel exactly as I did while stuck at the toll booth in New York many years ago.

So I found comfort and hope in a recent phrase used by church leaders Sarai Rice and Susan Beaumont. They talk about how we are now in a liminal space, with one foot planted in the old reality and one in the new. It feels fuzzy. We are building the bridge while we walk upon it. In whatever ways you too are building a bridge while you walk upon it, perhaps you too feel the panic of someone honking and yelling!

The Bible is filled with liminal moments. One of those happens in the early church when a preacher named Philip is told by an angel to reach out to a newcomer from out of town. Philip approaches the man in his chariot and finds that he is reading the scripture. “Do you understand what you are reading?” Phillip inquires. The man replies, “How can I unless someone guides me?” And he invites Philip to get in and sit beside him. (Acts 8)
What future does God lead us to understand as we sit beside one another?

Grace and Peace,

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