Do you remember, 6:00 P.M., August 1, 2007? It was the day that the 35W bridge collapsed. Thirteen people died.
Today at 5:00 a.m. the new bridge opened.
There was a lot of fanfare: a sort of mini-parade across the bridge to open things up. On the radio I heard the voice of a man from our congregation. He came on his motorcycle, because he wanted to say that he had been the first motorcycle over the bridge.
At my bag lunch Bible study on Wednesday, we had the opposite reaction. We discussed the parable of the laborers in the vineyard, and paused over the curious detail that the workers who were hired last were paid first. Think about it. The vineyard owner would not have run in to any problems if he had paid the early workers first; they would never have known that he had paid everyone the same.
But that's not what he did.
And then there is that curious line: "The last shall be first, and the first shall be last." We talked about why it is we all want to be first in line. We're in a hurry, maybe: that's one reason. Or, it is a shame to be at the end of the line, sort of like it is a shame to be the last one chosen to be on the softball team.
Or, maybe we are not sure there will be enough. Supplies may be limited, you know. So we don't want to be last in line, stuck with empty hands and dashed hopes.
Yep, we all wanted to be at the front of the line, not at the end.
Except for the bridge. We all decided we could wait and not be the first to go over the bridge. We would gladly let all those other people test it out, and make sure that it worked.
So, tonight I'm celebrating: the new bridge, put up in record time. I'm celebrating the motorcyclist from my church, brave enough to be first across. I'm celebrating the last who will be first, and the promise that supplies will not be limited.
And I'm wondering: why can't all bridges across chasms be so strong, so quickly built, so bravely crossed?