Take a moment, and let us imagine together the unique position that Prince Edward Island holds. It is the location of the Charlottetown Conference in 1864, which laid the foundation for the Quebec Conference, which resulted in the Canadian Confederation.
Similar to a few other provinces, Prince Edward Island holds a disproportionate number of federal legislators, as it is entitled to four senators and a minimum of four members of the Canadian House of Commons.
The federal representatives from the island are one of a few ways that PEI connects to the mainland of Canada, another major one being the fixed link: the Confederation Bridge. Construction of the fixed link was completed just over eighteen years ago, and it is a notable metaphor for how we as believers connect to God.
Just like the Confederation Bridge is the fixed link between PEI and mainland Canada, the church is the fixed link between the believer and God. It is my hope that by looking at the many different ways that the Confederation Bridge is a metaphor for the modern church, you can come to understand how important the church is for believers to be rightly connected to the Father in heaven.
1. The Fixed Link is a Channel for Vital Necessities
If there is a bad storm in PEI, it doesn’t take long for the store shelves to start going bare. If the bridge is closed down for any substantial length of time, it becomes almost impossible to find certain items on the island, because the stores will have sold out.
To look at the spiritual application of this, we look to John 15:5, where Jesus said, “I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing.” Furthermore, Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 12:27 that “Now you (the Christians in Corinth) are the body of Christ, and members individually.”
So, just as the Confederation Bridge is a fixed link through which necessities flow, the Church is also a link through which we can connect to Christ.
2. The Fixed Link is a Way In or Out
Logically speaking, we can look at the Confederation Bridge as a way on or off of Prince Edward Island. You can come onto the island via the fixed link, and you can come off of the island via the fixed link. Additionally, the Church is a way into a relationship with God, or out of various negative habits.
To illustrate, a man recently shared a story in how the Church was the main component that led to him having a relationship with Jesus Christ. As a young man, he loved music. His sister invited him to church with her, and even though he wasn’t really interested in what the church offered, he went because he was invited. Through that invitation, he began to serve with the music ministry, came to Christ, and has now been serving in the ministry for over twenty years. The church is a way into the service of the Lord.
3. The Fixed Link is New For Only a Short Time
We can also look at the Confederation Bridge as a metaphor for how new believers enter into the body. In 1997 when the fixed link first opened, there was an increase of almost half of a million tourists coming to Prince Edward Island above and beyond the average numbers for previous years.
It remained like this for a few years, and people were coming because of the new bridge. But after a while, the newness of the bridge wore off, and the increased tourism traffic was reduced to about 150,000 more than was normal prior to 1997.
We see this same pattern with new Christians. They first come to Christ, and they come into the church and everything is new and exciting, and they are gung ho for the Lord. But within a few years, the newness of the church has worn off, and they start to head out the door to find something else new.
Just like the Confederation Bridge is still doing the same thing it was when it first opened in 1997, the Church is still doing what it has always done, but it seems to lose its luster for some folks. Just as the bridge still provides the pathway to provision, the Church is still preaching and teaching Christ, and is still receiving the outpouring of the Holy Spirit.
4. When Building a Fixed Link, it has a Cost
Back when construction of the Confederation Bridge was in the early phases, the construction crews would often ride in helicopters to the various pylons that were being placed to support the future roadway that would be above.
Of course, nature calls from time to time, so they would have to use the helicopters to bring port-a-pottys to the location where the men were working. When the pottys were full, the helicopter would come back, and take the potty to dispose of its contents, and there was a man whose job was to ensure that the port-a-potty was not in use at the time the helicopter picked it up.
One day, however, one of the crew was taken for a ride, and the man who was supposed to ensure that it was empty lost his job.
Why is that? If the potty became detached from the helicopter, it would practically explode when it hit the water below. The man had to be let go, because it was beneficial for the safety of the construction crew. This has to take place sometimes within the church.