A Bridge to Heaven

Have you ever traveled to a country where you do not speak the native language? A couple years ago, I met up with my brother in Italy while he was studying abroad for the semester. During a stretch of days off, we loaded our backpacks and set off to Athens, Greece. We landed late at night with vague directions to find our lodging. I will never forget staring at a metro map as my brother joked, “It’s weird they speak in triangles!” We were matching Greek alphabet letters to our own map like some sort of treasure hunt. We improvised, made some wrong turns, and did our best to fit in amongst the locals. However, I am sure that despite our efforts, our American-ness seeped through. Greece was not our home. 

Such is our time on earth. Mankind sojourns here, a foreign land where we adapt but do not belong. 

Paul explains it this way: “But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, who, by the power that enables Him to bring everything under control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like His glorious body. Therefore, my brothers and sisters, you whom I love and long for, my joy and crown, stand firm in the Lord in this way, dear friends” (Philippians 3:20-21, 4:1).

I have a distinct memory from middle school learning the Latin word pons, which is translated bridge. My mind devoured the “aha!” moment when our teacher talked us through the word pontifex, which translates simply as high priest. (To this day, I am a sucker for Latin roots and derivatives.) Christ is referred to as our great high priest, our pontifex, because He serves as our bridge to the heavenly throne of God. Hebrews 4:15 states, “For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin.”  Paul tells us to stand firm in this fractured world because our high priest serves as our perfect, blameless intercessor.

The birth of a child, a painted sunset, and laughter with friends are mere shadows of heaven – things that pull us towards the home for which we were created. Our hope and our joy rest in the promise that the pain, uncertainty, and death, that fracture our reality, will one day be redeemed into glory. Citizens elsewhere, Christ is our bridge on our journey home. 

By Bethany Taylor

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