The Parable of the Bridge
by Davin Dahlgren,
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.
[Return to Spiritual Studies]