Building bridges

23 Jan 2017


 There are moments of frustration in ministry (yes, really!) One of the recurrent ones is in the inability to bi-locate - or be in two places at once.


On Friday, several folk from Bloomsbury took part in the "Build Bridges, Not Walls" protest on London's river bridges. (I was not one of them - hence the frustration! So many wonderful things to do - as I was in fact doing - not enough time to do them)


It was a  demonstration of the commitment to - well, do what is says on the tin, really; - to build bridges, not walls, in a world where building walls seems to be becoming the political norm. And here is a photo of one of the events, which Simon took.


It is a really good idea, and the demonstration was a lovely, visual and committed way to make the point and enact the determination.


Yes, sure it was symbolic; eventually, people let the bridges and went and did whatever else they were going to do that day. 


But symbols matter. They do change things. A ring exchanged at a wedding is not simply a piece of metal - it is not even an ordinary ring. It has a meaning, and the act of passing it over, the act of wearing it, defines the world and commits the people involved to a particular way of living.


A handshake exchanged between people who have never met, or between people who have been in conflict matters; it signals and shapes the relationship.


Standing on a bridge and saying "I will build bridges not walls" may be a less time and community sanctioned symbol, but it has power. It makes a difference in the world if those who do it (and those like me who would have done it had they not been committed to other things) man and do what they say. We won't demolish the Wall of separation in Israel overnight, we won;t even get in the way of any wall Trump decides to build just by standing on a bridge.


But the Berlin Wall came down - and it came down in part because of a long slow burn of people meeting in churches and homes and denying the right of the wall to define who they were - and laying trails of candles and refusing to stop.


Building bridges not walls is a pretty close parallel to what Paul says in Ephesians - preaching peace to those who are far off and those who are near; making both groups


nto one and breaking down the dividing wall. 


I may not have been on the bridge, but I - and you - and we - can still be part of the rebuilding. God is good.







































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