Building bridges

May 4, 2016 | Viewpoints | Volume 20 Issue 10
Lee Dyck |

Bridges are an important part of life in British Columbia. Whether it is the new Port Mann Bridge or any other crossing of our many rivers, bridges are a part of our lives. In Mennonite Church B.C., we are also in the business of building bridges.

Last year our focus was on Anabaptist identity and this year we will build on that with emphasis on building missional capacity from the perspective of “reconciliation of a broken world.” Bridge-building and maintenance will be required. We will look at ways to resource our congregations in their communities. What bridges are needed and what tools are needed to do the job? How can this be resourced? How can reconciling links be fostered? What stories will open new bridges as we share “this wonderful message of reconciliation” (II Corinthians 5:19)?

For a bridge to be useful and safe, the right materials need to be placed in the right locations at the right time. In our lives as believers, we also encounter stages of bridge-building, whether it is with our indigenous neighbours, a friend or family member who is in a crisis, or a fellow believer with whom we have a difference of theology or opinion. The bridges we build need to be trustworthy.

We are all part of this bridge-building, this community of faith that is founded on the gospel of God’s love for the world. Missional living comes down to relationships. If I build a bridge to my neighbour, a relationship is formed and the possibility of crossing that bridge to another and then another opens up. Neighbours become friends and before I know it, much to my surprise, we are at the table together sharing each other’s joys and sorrows in relationship. A divide has been spanned and new entry points into each other’s lives open up.

Missional living depends on these small steps, faithful living, reaching out in love and enjoying the life God has called you to. It’s about joy, not obligation. Abundance, not scarcity.

I build bridges with my neighbours by sharing homemade bread. The art of bread-making and sharing it is something that has been handed down to me through my mother and grandmothers. When the bread is built, so to speak, it is ready for sharing. As long as it is remains only a recipe, or sits on my counter or in my freezer, it’s just bread. When it is shared, it becomes part of that communion, that liminal space between earth and heaven where barriers are broken down and the bridge into another’s life is crossed. As the bread is thankfully received, relationships grow. The desire for connection and belonging is fostered.

In this Eastertide season, as you focus on the hope of the resurrection in your lives, may your conversations and connections build bridges of love, peace and justice in the places where you live, move and have your being.

Lee Dyck is moderator of Mennonite Church B.C.

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