Building Bridges

building bridges

And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us.
We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God. 2 Corinthians 5:19-20 (NIV)

Once upon a time two brothers who lived on adjoining farms fell into conflict. It was the first serious rift John and James had experienced in 40 years of farming side by side, sharing machinery, and trading labour and goods. It began with a small misunderstanding and grew into a major difference that finally exploded into an exchange of bitter words followed by weeks of silence.

One morning there was a knock on John’s door. He opened it to find a man with a carpenter’s toolbox. “I’m looking for a few days work,” he said. “Perhaps you have a few small jobs here and there I could help with?”

“I do in fact,” said John. “The creek down there is the boundary between my farm and the neighbour, who happens to be my younger brother. After an argument last week he took his bulldozer and opened the river levee to form the creek that now separates us. I want to go one better. I want you to take the lumber over by the barn and build an eight-foot fence so I won’t need to see his place or his face any more.”

The carpenter said, “I think I understand the situation. Show me the nails and the post hole digger and I’ll get on with the work.”

John had to go to town that day so he helped the carpenter get the materials ready and left. The carpenter worked ceaselessly – measuring, sawing, and nailing.

John returned at sunset, just as the carpenter was finishing the job. John’s eyes opened wide, his jaw dropped. Instead of a fence, the carpenter had built a bridge – a bridge stretching from one side of the creek to the other, handrails and all. And crossing the bridge, with outstretched hand, was James.

“You are quite a fellow to build this bridge after all I’ve said and done,” said James.

Taking each other’s hand, the two brothers made their peace.

The carpenter hoisted his toolbox on his shoulder and turned to leave. “No, wait! Stay a few days. I’ve a lot of other projects for you,” said John. “I’d love to stay on,” said the carpenter, “but I have many more bridges to build.” [Source: Farm Review].

“If you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to your brother; then come and offer your gift” Matthew 5:23-24.

“For if, when we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life! Not only is this so, but we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation” Romans 5:10-11.

“For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross” Colossians 1:19-20.

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