The Parable of the Bridge
by Davin Dahlgren, June 1996

A certain builder designed and built a bridge. This bridge was unlike any other. It was so narrow that even two people could not walk its length side-by-side. It had no handrails with which to steady oneself. But perhaps the most disconcerting aspect of all was that it was not visible -- at least, not to those who crossed it. From any point along the length of the bridge one would seem to be standing in mid-air, so cleverly did the colouring of the bridge blend in with the surrounding terrain. The only path leading to the bridge lay between two insurmountable cliffs. At the opposite end of the bridge, the opening to a cave was visible.
Upon completion of the bridge, the builder send his son back across it to show others the way to cross it. He told them of the wonderful city in which they were all welcome if they would only cross the bridge and pass through the cave. He then returned to his father, followed by a few who had heard his message and believed.
Many centuries passed, and many were told of the amazing bridge and the wonderful city. Many believed in the bridge and would follow the path through valley of the shadow of death to view the place where one might step out onto the bridge. Then they would return to their homes and relate their story to all around them. In time, a generation arose who refused to believe in the bridge, for their senses could not detect it, and their reason could not fathom it. Even those who claimed to believe in the bridge began to make excuses for it.
"It is not a physical bridge," said some. "It is metaphorical. It represents the bridge which we each must discover for ourselves in order to achieve the similitude of life in the wonderful city."
Others said that it was a concept which had yet to be achieved. "It is we who must build this bridge according to the builder's plan. One day we shall achieve it, and we shall cross the bridge to find our rewards."
Still others claimed that the bridge could no longer be crossed. "Those who have crossed it were chosen to cross it. The builder no longer intends for us to cross the bridge. But we must make sure that the story of the bridge is passed from generation to generation."
Now, lest you become discouraged, it must be noted that there were some who approached the bridge with the intent of seeking the truth. Alone in their communities or generations, they felt the inexorable call of the builder leading them to actually step out onto the bridge. And when they did, they found that their true faith was rewarded, for they stood firmly on the rock out of which the bridge had been hewn. Then, unable to return to their former lives of wasteful self-indulgence, they began to step farther out onto the bridge. It was a frightening experience to take one step after another without being able to see the path of safety. But each one found that when he cast his eyes on the goal, and walked straight towards that cave which had been cut by the builder into the side of the sheer cliff face, he had no need to fear. This is as it was promised by the builder, when he said of those who would by faith step out onto the bridge, "though he stumble, he will not fall." And those who ventured forth onto the bridge, who did not turn to the right or to the left and fall into error, all came to the golden city rejoicing.
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