I was in a room with about 1,000 other women. And, as I sat there listening to Sis. Mickey Mangun speak, I felt as though every pair of eyes had disappeared. The message, her heart, was everything that has been tugging in my spirit. Her words were so authentic, so genuine, so honest, and so vulnerable. For the past couple weeks, I have been reflecting over the idea of becoming a bridge builder. It is a message that I believe every individual, no matter your gender, race, or age, should hear and have written on their hearts.
A couple months a go, I wrote this thought in my journal:
We need to build more bridges and less walls.
There is a world that needs the church; a church that doesn’t know that four walls even exist, a church that turns their attention from themselves and directs it towards our communities, a church that desires to connect with people no matter who they are, a church that fights for justice and a church that doesn’t ignore the stories of those who are broken, lost, and hopeless.
As a church, it begins by building relationships with individuals. If our lives are truly not our own, than our reflection in the water should be the face of Jesus. With every interaction, with every conversation, it is important to make it known that people matter, no matter who they are, no matter where they have been, no matter what they have done. People are valuable.
When we begin to build the bridge between us and them, as Mickey stated, it is important that they know, “I need you. I need to hear your story, even if it’s dark and ugly and secular.”
We are all stories in the end. And, we are all a part of The Greater Purpose.
We need one another. They, too, are God’s children. We need to hear their stories and when the time is right, they need to hear ours. They need to heart the salvation message and they need to hear about Jesus(this is what is on the other side of The Bridge!)
There is nothing more beautiful than seeing sons and daughters meeting their God for the very first time, whether that be in an altar, in a living room, in a park… Without fail, I cry every single time. I think of the story where Jesus welcomes the little children into His arms, I think of the story where the prodigal son returns to His father, and I think of how the shepherd leaves his flock just for that one lost sheep.
We are a part of God’s story. We are a part of the redemption story. We are a part of seeing lives transformed through a relationship with Jesus. We are bridge builders.
When you begin to live your life in a way that sees people for how God sees them, you are transformed. Over the past couple years, God has continually shattered my mindset and ways. He has beckoned me to live in a way that doesn’t want to just pass people on by. I am not just existing. I, we, are all bridge builders.
We are in constant communication with one another. There are no words for me to express this deep desire inside of me to see relationships between the church and the secular world be established. I long to see the redemption side of the story. We were once lost and broken, but through the grace of God, we are now found and whole. We have truth written in our hearts, and we are serving a God who loves each and every one of us beyond our imagination.
In this world, there are broken vessels, there are lost people, there are hurting people, there are people who are bound by so many deadly sins, and there are those who just need to hear that he or she is of worth.
God has given us the most beautiful gift, the gift of the Holy Spirit. And, through this gift, He has given each of us the power and the ability to connect with those who are not of us.
Just as Jesus noticed Zacchaeus, just as Jesus noticed the woman who was caught in adultery, just as Jesus noticed the little children, just as Jesus noticed the man with leprosy, just as Jesus noticed the 5,000 who were hungry, we too must notice these people.
My prayer is to be a bridge builder. My prayer is that each of us will take part in the most important part of interpersonal communication:listening. And, my prayer is that the church will build more bridges, and less walls.
Let’s become bridge builders.