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The people of North Cambridge have been waiting patiently for a bridge to carry them safely over the very busy motorway which runs from East to West just north of the city boundary. At last it is here and was opened with due ceremony two months ago. It is a very graceful and lofty bridge for cyclists and pedestrians which drops down just off the motorway into the village of Milton. The photographs above give a bird's eye view of the traffic thundering up and down on the roads beneath. It is a picture that could be multiplied all over the Western hemisphere. Like the rebuilt bridge of Mostar in Bosnia, bridges have often been symbols of independence and hope. They stretch out towards the future, enabling a reality of human living.
People also need personal 'bridges' of hope and serenity and love to enable them to live lives of human-ness. For the individual such a 'bridge' is made without hands or technology. Its builder and maker is God. For if there is any meaning in life it does not reside in the circumstances of life, of good or bad experiences, but only in the bridgeing of them towards an experience of God who is love in the midst of hate, of God who is compassionate beyond all exclusive differences which divide us from one another. A 'bridge' is not a proof of anything, it is the possibility of coming to understand the truth in human living.
In Christian experience Christ is that 'bridge' through whom we come to the 'truth' for he re-defines who God is and in his own person reflects our needs. But today our understanding of what Jesus brought into the world, in particular his life as the 'bridge' into the Father, is in need of substantial re-definition. Traditional teachings often sought to understand the bridge that Jesus built in his life and death as a sacrifice for humanity's failures, projecting on to God our all too human tendencies of anger, resentment and the psychological demand for a scapegoat. Society today rightly rejects such ideas. It is a challenge to the Christian community to build new bridges on the pattern and after the truth of Jesus, who is the way, the truth and the life.
© Aelred Arnesen
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