I have always lived in towns that have rivers as a predominate feature. In Ottawa Illinois the Illinois River divided the town into north and south. Hartford Illinois is located where the Mississippi River and the Missouri River converged. The Rock River cuts Rockford into the east and west sides of town. The river is the line that people use when trying to figure out if you are on the bad side or good side of town.
All of the towns I have lived in are vastly different, but they all have something in common; bridges.
In Ottawa the coolest looking bridge wasn't the one we drove on, but the one for the train. The middle section would raise and lower for barge traffic. On top of that section was a house. As a kid I thought it would be cool to live up there.
The Clark bridge over the Mississippi River may be one of the best looking bridges in Illinois. It was one of the things that I would always point out as I gave tours at the Confluence Towers.
The bridges in Rockford are some of the coolest features in the city. The bridges downtown are simple looking, but the arches that support them are beautiful (especially when they are illuminated for Christmas). The suspension bridges are the ones that you have to take notice of. You know that hours were spent planning the look of the bridges not to mention the hours spent to figure out the structural integrity of them.
Bridges exist to connect two place where there is a barrier in the way. Bridges are opportunities to create something new.
What would happen if we stopped looking at the barrier and start seeing that we can make a new path?
Our church and your church have barriers that they have to figure out how to get past. The barrier is an opportunity in waiting. Bridges make a mark on their community. Churches need to be the ones who show how we get past the barriers to where we want to go.
Jesus was the ultimate bridge. The barrier between us and God is sin. Jesus' death and resurrection is the bridge that we needed to get to God.
So let's stop looking at the barriers and start building bridges.