When Bridges Fail

When Bridges Fail

In his latest sermon on how to thrive as disciples of Christ, Pastor Steve talked about becoming metaphorical bridge builders, acting as peacemakers to those at odds with each other. But sometimes bridges fail, right? First let’s take a look at some examples of actual bridge failures:

  • The 2007 collapse of Minnesota’s I-35W bridge killed 13 people because of weak gusset plates that were part of a “non-redundant” design. This meant if any major component failed, the bridge was bound to collapse. As a result, multiple fail-safes were built so that no single part alone bears the weight.
  • In 1989, the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge collapsed due to the Loma Prieta quake, shearing several connective bolts and killing one person. After that, engineers reexamined older bridges throughout the state and strengthened or rebuilt them.
  • In 1973, the West Side Highway in New York collapsed. It was falling apart due to lack of maintenance and 130,000 travelers each day. Now modern sensors measure roadway strain and send regular alerts.

Could these disasters have been averted? Yes, if someone had been paying attention. If we translate that metaphor to our daily lives, how can we nurture our relationship bridges that might be suffering from wear and tear?

  1. Take a look at your family bridge. Leave a love note for your spouse or praise your child for a job well done.
  2. Take a look at your neighborhood bridges. Reach out to a senior neighbor who may need your help.
  3. Take a look at your community bridges. Bolster a bridge you see crumbling from someone else’s actions.

Look inside to see where your own support beams may be giving way. Think about how you might fortify those beams with grace and love as a bridge-building disciple of Christ.

About the Author

Ariane Herwig is the Director of Art & Communications at La Jolla Community Church.

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