Saturday, March 24, 2007

Something of Substance

As you might have noticed, I meander back and forth between random musings or ramblings, and more introspective thoughts or theological dialogue. My deeper side has been a little lacking in the blogosphere as of late and I feel the unceasing need to step it up.

In On the Anvil, Max Lucado writes: "Once upon a time there was a tiny hamlet in the Swiss Alps. This hamlet was in serious trouble. The well that supplied water to the village went dry. Th people began to panic. A river was near the community, but it was located at the bottom of a deep, deep gorge. Hence, no one could reach the water. And it was the middle of summer, so the snow on the mountain had long since melted. There was, however, another well flowing with water across the gorge on the adjuacent mountainside. An imaginative young thinker came up with a solution. He built a bridge across the gorge. The villagers were elated. A bucket brigade was formed immediately, and the water supply was replenished. Needless to say, the bridge became very important to this group. It was their source of life. They honored the bridge. They named the bridge after the builder and painted it a beautiful gold. Tinsel was strung fromt eh bridge. Miniature bridges were built and sold in the streets. People wore them on their necks and hung them in the windows. A committee was formed to pay homage to the bridge. Only certain people were allowed upon it, and then only on certain days, and then only when wearing certain clothes. The bridge keeper became the most respected and revered position on the mountain. No one could see or cross the bridge without his permission. Unfortunately, there were disputes within in the committee. The disagreement centered around whether a canopy should be built over the bridge. So the bridge was closed until a decision could be made. Many villagers died of thirst while the leaders debated. In the search for truth, the means often become the end."

This short piece spoke to me loud and clear about overly rigid structures or traditions, those which used to provide a pathway to God, to abundant life, to *living water*, to peace, joy, assurance, and grace and yet have often become the focus of our energies and attention. The structure becomes overly prized and we forget all about why it was prized in the first place. The bridge is worthy and honorable only as long as it gets us there. When it ceases to take us to that which actually sustain us, its value is gone. The old addage: "Keep the main thing the main thing" could also be applied here. The bridge, the structure, or tradition fail us if we can no longer use them freely and inclusively. The exclusive bridge doesn't even meet its original purpose. If only some may cross, or if they meet with certain restrictions and regulations first, then the bridge ceases to offer a true path to the water (i.e., life, abundance, God).

What is your bridge? Your means? Your path? Has it become your idol? The all-important, set-in-stone, gold-painted, don't-use-it-'cause-you-might-wear-it-out, used-to-get-us-there-but-now-it-don't super-structure?

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