With apologies to my Feasterville friends, I probably could lead a decent life without going to Feasterville ever again. Besides, Bridgetown Pike and Brownsville Road are such a hassle. But I can’t live a decent life, I can’t live a godly life, if I’m content with local traffic and Playwicki Park.
Get used to it, they say. It’s going to be a couple of years. They are rebuilding the State Route 213 bridge over Neshaminy Creek, and if you travel much between Langhorne and Feasterville, life just got a little more complicated. For now, “Bridge Out” pretty much says it all. Oh, it’s not that we won’t be seeing our Feasterville friends for two years or they us, it’s just that Bridgetown Pike or Brownsville Road are a hassle. And for those of you on the far side of the bridge, please, don’t give up on us. We want to see you. We promise not to say anything when you show up for worship and Faith Acts, Bible studies and committee meetings, five minutes late.
Of course, “Bridge Out” screams life metaphor or sermon illustration. “Jesus is My Bridge Over Troubled Water” the bumper sticker once proclaimed. Evangelism tracts show Jesus as the bridge providing a way for sinful humanity to cross into the presence of a Holy God. Just because a metaphor is tired doesn’t mean that it is not true. Thank God for the good news that the bridge to eternity is not out.
The sign at the corner of Route 213 and Old Lincoln Highway assures motorists that local traffic can proceed for another mile and a half and that the road to Playwicki Park is open. Too often that is how I live my life. Whether it is in my relationship with God or with others, when the bridge is out, I’m willing to content myself with local traffic and trips to Playwicki Park. Who needs to go to Feasterville, anyway?
For sure, Jesus is our bridge over troubled water, a bridge that never goes out. But I have lots of other bridges that go out all the time.
It used to be that we greeted each other with a friendly “hello” and our checking in and “how ya doin’?” was easy and often led to deeper things. Since the ill-spoken words or that regrettable incident, that bridge of relationship is out. I’m going to have to find another way to cross the creek and rebuilt the friendship. Just as Bridgetown Pike and Brownsville Road are a hassle, so are confession and forgiveness, forbearance and patience.
Or I can be content with local traffic. No longer going to that relationship or trying to bridge the gap that has grown.
He thought he had pretty good idea of what the future would bring, at least vocationally. There would always be work and with a bit of diligence and being careful about what you did and how you did it, there would probably be promotions. But it’s going on six years since the economy went bad, and lay-offs come too often and no one gets promoted. The bridge of easy hope is out. Just as Bridgetown Pike and Brownsville Road are not the easy way we want to go, so living with faithful courage and assurance is not an easy way to live.
Or he can be content with going no further than Playwicki Park; skipping rocks on a still patch on the creek of despair.
“Christian” may still be the easy answer to give if anyone any more asks about our religion. But living life as a Christian is no longer easy, if it ever was. The bridge that once connected life with faith is out. Faith is mocked as irrational and love is ridiculed as naïve. Justice is lost in an “all about me” world. Holiness is distained when instant pleasure is our ultimate end. Why worship, why participate in the community of faith, why care about a hurting world when it’s so inconvenient to do so?
The bridge is out. Rather than waste time on a detour, I think I’ll stay local. Playwicki Park is not so bad. Who needs to go to Feasterville anyway?
With apologies to my Feasterville friends, I probably could lead a decent life without going to Feasterville ever again. Besides, Bridgetown Pike and Brownsville Road are such a hassle. But I can’t live a decent life, I can’t live a godly life, if I’m content with local traffic and Playwicki Park. Confession, forgiveness, forbearance, courage, faith, hope, worship, fellowship, service are not the easy way. They are detours on the way. Maybe that’s what Jesus meant when he said that the way is easy that leads to destruction, and the way is hard that leads to life.
See You Sunday – and you Feasterville folks, don’t worry about being a little late.