A Bridge—Not Too Far
By Gary Piper of Fort Gratiot, MI, USA
Thus says the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel, to all the exiles whom I have sent into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon: Build houses and live in them; plant gardens and eat what they produce. But seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile, and pray to the LORD on its behalf, for in its welfare you will find your welfare. For surely I know the plans I have for you, says the LORD, plans for your welfare and not for harm, to give you a future with hope. —Jeremiah 29:4–5, 7, 11 NRSV
Everything has a beginning. Today began at midnight. My day began when I crawled out of bed at 6:08 a.m. As we begin our daily journey we need a bridge, not a physical bridge but a bridge spanning the distance from the yesterday “you” to the today and tomorrow “you.” The bridge I am referring to is Jesus.
The Apostle Paul expresses it this way:
So if anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation: everything old has passed away; see, everything has become new! All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation; that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting the message of reconciliation to us. —2 Corinthians 5:17–19 NRSV
Though Jesus existed before the dawn of creation, his earthly journey had a beginning. In a few days we’ll celebrate the beginning of that journey, as we do each year. Paul writes, “But when the fullness of time had come, God sent his Son, born of a woman…” (Galatians 4:4). One of the ways I understand the meaning of “the fullness of time” is that Jesus’ birth came when the need for a “Wonderful Counsellor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace” (Isaiah 9:6) was at an all-time high (and still is).
There is great mystery in the birth of Jesus. Greater still is the mystery of how as a bridge he makes us “new persons.” Jesus is a bridge to the persons God is calling us to become and to the divine resources needed to be those persons.
Advent Prayer Phrase
Anticipation deepens within.
Invitation to Spiritual Practice
Spend a few moments dwelling in God’s presence. Pay attention to where your heart feels drawn into prayer. What words, images, or themes in this story lead you to reflect on your own faith journey? What is God’s invitation to you this day?