Bridge of Alvah: Graceful & Useful

Why are bridges so wonderful? I recently walked across the Bridge of Alvah (it’s a silent L) in Scotland’s North East. Below is the beautiful River Deveron, either side of which are steep banks covered in trees. It dates back to the eighteenth century and was intended to make life even easier for the Earls of Fife who paid for its construction. Ailish Sinclair rightly compares it to something out of Lord of the Rings on account of its majesty and dramatic setting. 

Beauty and engineering aside, bridges are chiefly impressive because they allow transportation from one location to another. On the river’s other side might be one’s job, home or a sweetheart. The alternative route below involves getting wet or lost; the bridge negates the necessity for peril. 

In ancient Rome was an office called the Pontifex Maximus. Its holder was the Chief Priest and it was a powerful position, which is why Julius Caesar arranged for himself to possess it. Pontifex comes from Pons = bridge + maker. Hence, Caesar was the great-bridge-maker to the gods. When paganism was suppressed by Roman Catholicism, the Bishop of Rome assumed the old title, and is to this day referred to as the Pontiff. Now go back to the opening line of the previous paragraph. What if Francis, the great-bridge-maker to God who might look and sounds impressive, is not capable of getting you to God? How about Russell Nelson, President of the Mormon Church? He and his twelve apostles look like nice enough guys. What about Robert Ciranko, leader of the Watch Tower Bible & Tract Society, of the JWs? He will teach you how to escape Armageddon and Jehovah’s doom. Or His Holiness the 14th Delai Lama with his teaching on enlightenment and escaping Samsara? World religions offer all sorts of bridges to eternal life, but what if travelling those bridges brings you out in a worse place? What if these structures cannot bear your weight? 

As far I can tell, Jesus Christ never described Himself as a bridge, but He did say “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” A good bridge should look graceful in its setting. But its primary purpose it to get you somewhere. Upon which bridge are you?