Grace is like a river flowing through me. The spring flows right out of the ground of my soul, right out of the dark soil of my heart. But, heck, most of the time I ignore it or, forget its there. It is the Living Water promised by Jesus Christ to the Samaritan woman whom he found at Jacob’s well. Remember? Jesus is thirsty and asks for water. She gives him the drink; he takes it and tells her of the refreshment he can give her if she simply asks for it.
I think of this astonishing grace as a clear, cold flow of power which comes and never gives itself up. I do remember His promise more often these days and it makes my life more enjoyable.
It’s easy for me to think of myself as a channel of grace. Like an old pipe filling up with rust and crud through the years, there’s still enough space in me to allow grace to flow to others. It’s not my grace, it’s His on the way to their lives.
However, more often these days, I think of myself as a bridge that for a moment spans the gap between a soul and God. I don’t have to much to give, if anything at all. Just being there for someone or a group of people might allow them to pass over to experience God.
Our Holy Father is still called “the Pontiff,” a reference to the ancient official priesthood of Rome. The designation means “One who is a bridge-builder.” The Roman chief priest of sacrifice and rituals was called “Pontifex Maximus.” Later in the development of the empire the Cesears assumed the title of supreme priest. Today the Ceasar’s are gone but the pope as Pontifex Maximus continues. In a small way, I feel as if the Lord is using me me as a bridge, too.
When I was a kid we lived in a government project that was actually pretty nice. Family apartments were at ground level or on the second floor. There were many of these red-brick two story, multi-family residences with lots of window set among trees in a park-like area along the Chicago River in central Chicago. There were stretches of green grass and in the spring, red and white tulip gardens planted so that residents could enjoy them. Since the street next to the projects was called Diversey Boulevard, the complex of residences were called the Diversey Projects. Diversey crossed the Chicago River by means of a narrow wooden bridge which made a rumbling noise as cars and buses made their way carefully over the old bridge.
My mother was claustrophobic and would get nervous as my dad maneuvered our old buick across the wooden planks which formed the floor of the bridge. There was only a few feet to spare between the walls of the bridge on one side and maybe three feet between the westbound lane and the eastbound lane. The rickety bridge swayed in a predictable dance step as our heavy car maneuvered across the old planks.
I feel that I am that kind of bridge for people. The Lord has His ways, doesn’t he? I don’t look that reliable, and my bodily structure sways, but you can still get across. That’s why I’m still here.