A really nice bridge was built across the Choluteca River (Honduras). It was completed in 1998, just before Hurricane Mitch struck. The bridge survived the hurricane, but the river shifted, leaving the bridge on dry ground. The bridge quickly became known as “The Bridge to Nowhere”
This is a powerful metaphor of what has happened with the Church this year. The structures that we had so passionately built were no longer useful. Our large buildings, our “fellowship halls”, our classrooms, our kitchens and our parking lots were emptied. Camps and retreats were canceled. Mission trips were called off. Worship concerts became Spotify playlists. Weekend services were moved to computer and phone screens in peoples’ homes. Our “Sunday’s best” became PJ’s and slippers.
God hasn’t stopped moving. He is moving like never before. People are desperate for hope. As Church leaders, we might want to sit on the bridge and wait for the river to come back, or we can wade into the river where it is now flowing.
Matthew 9:16-17 “No one sews a patch of unshrunk cloth on an old garment, for the patch will pull away from the garment, making the tear worse. Neither do people pour new wine into old wineskins. If they do, the skins will burst; the wine will run out and the wineskins will be ruined. No, they pour new wine into new wineskins, and both are preserved.”
“Re-opening” or “Re-assembling” may indicate that the river is shifting back towards its f
ormer banks. Or it could be us trying to get new wine into the old wineskin. We don’t want to end up celebrating on a bridge to nowhere.
Here are some important questions:
- What do our “structures” accomplish?
- How can those things be accomplished today?
- What new structures must be built in order to meet these new challenges?
- What “old bridges” or “old wineskins” do I need to let go of?
These are difficult questions, but you may find fresh purpose and fulfillment by answering them. This is an opportunity. Remember that the banks of the river of God are ever shifting.
Pastor Matt Messner
(Thank you Steve Mickel for sharing a recent post on social media, featuring this bridge)