A very strange event occurs this weekend in Sydney. In fact it will occur this weekend and will be repeated next weekend and if necessary the weekend after that as well. For the first time in its almost 80 year history, the Sydney Harbour Bridge will be closed for up to three weekends in January for major maintenance on the road surface. While the Bridge has been closed before for sporting events and even the odd picnic, closing for maintenance for three weekends is unique. Of course there are alternative crossings of the Harbour, namely the Harbour Tunnel and the Anzac Bridge, but Sydney-siders will no doubt experience quite a few traffic dramas over the next few weekends.
Somehow 80 years ago Sydney did survive without a bridge. In my childhood my late grandfather used to entertain me with stories about travelling to and from the city each day, when the daily commute included lengthy delays for the ferry/punt that used to cross from North Sydney. He himself was rarely troubled by the queue, as he drove a large motorbike and simply glided through the cars to await the arriving boat.
The image of a bridge has been a popular one in trying to explain and defend the Christian faith. The idea that there is a gulf between humans, who are far from holy, and God who is Holy, is not an idea unique to Christianity. Indeed most, if not all religion, deals with ways of overcoming this moral gap between God and humanity. Even Aussie religious cynics acknowledge their unworthiness before God, when they joke that if they entered a church there may be some type of divine reaction that may include the roof collapsing. The standard religious solution common to most world religions is that the gap between a Holy God and a less than perfect humanity can be addressed by some form of religion inspired improvement to make a person worthy. Christianity is unusual in that it affirms the gulf between humans and God can never be overcome by human improvement, religious practice, or even inner reflection. The gap is simply too large and even the best human effort leaves us a long way short. The only solution is something, or rather someone, who can straddle the gap between a Holy God and a sinful humanity.
Jesus carries a number of formal and religious titles including Messiah, Saviour and Redeemer, which some have simplified and popularised quite simply as a Bridge. (http://www.navigators.org/us/resources/illustrations/items/bridge)
This Bridge is toll free, open to all, is not closing for maintenance and provides the only effective path for humans to be restored to God.
"... we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ." Romans 5: 1
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