Tuesday May 19, 2020
These Coronavirus-pandemic days of early 2020 have us reading horrific news from all over the world - but especially how the Covid-19 virus has been infecting and decimating several European countries like Italy, Spain, France and the UK, and the United States of America, to name the worst-hit nations of them all.
As I think about these European countries -- so old, so historic, so cultural, so beautiful, filled with so many lovely places to see, and so many wonderful things to do, and so many amazing people to befriend -- I think back to my husband's and my 25th-wedding-anniversary trip that we took to Europe almost 4 years ago now. How we loved every single minute of it! How we delighted in everything we saw and did, in everyone we met and spent time with, in everything we learned from our five weeks there!
And so, in memory of our such wonderful days in Europe back then, I have decided to re-post a few reflections I wrote when we got back home to Colombia. Thoughts and meditations on places we saw and things we did, and what they taught me about life and people and God... because they are just as relevant today, in our world steeped in a mind-boggling health and economic crisis, as they were a few years back when life was "normal".
Today, from the Reflections For Living Treasure Chest:
Reflections From Europe: The Bridges of Prague in the Czech Republic - Part I
One of the many beautiful sights in the city of Prague in the Czech Republic are its many bridges. There are more than 300 of them, 18 of which span the Vltava River.
The Manes Bridge, named after Czech painter Josef Manes, joins Old Town and the Lesser Quarter of Prague.
The Legion Bridge is a granite bridge near the National Theatre that allows access to Strelecky Island in the middle of the Vltava River.
The Palacky Bridge is one of the oldest still-used bridges in the city, originally built in 1876 and named after Frantisek Palacky who was a famous Czech historian and politician.
The Troja Bridge is the newest and most modern bridge in Prague, completed in 2014. The bridge serves car and tram traffic, and also has bicycle paths and pedestrian walkways on both sides.
The most famous of all Prague's bridges is the pedestrian-only Charles Bridge (Karluv Most). Its construction began in the year 1357 under the auspices of King Charles IV, and it was completed in the beginning of the 15th century. It was the first stone bridge built between both sides of the town, and was part of the coronation route from the Powder Tower to Prague Castle. It is decorated by a continuous alley of 30 statues and statuaries, most of the baroque-style. Until 1841, Charles Bridge was the only means of crossing the Vltava River.
While my husband and I were in Prague for a few days four summers ago now, one of our favourite activities was walking along the river admiring the spectacular views, or crossing from Old Town to Lesser Quarter and back on foot over the various bridges.
For that is what a bridge is for: to span a body of water from one piece of land to another - to join two places together which otherwise would remain apart.
As I think back to our glorious time in Prague and I wonder whether or not we will ever be able to go back there for a visit, and as I think about what is happening with so much Covid-19-related sickness and death and economic crisis on a global scale these days, I have thought often of Prague's bridges.
Partly, because one of Europe's most important pre-Reformers named Jan Hus came from and preached mightily in the city of Prague during the early 1400's.
But also because the 5 Solas of the Protestant Reformation from 500 years ago -- SCRIPTURE ALONE, GRACE ALONE, FAITH ALONE, CHRIST ALONE, TO GOD ALONE BE THE GLORY, a summary of the Reformers' theological convictions about the essentials of Christianity -- are like bridges of compassion and mercy that span across an impossibly huge gulf that separates sinful man from a most holy God and joins the two together again.
I invite you to come back next Tuesday May 26 for Part II of REFLECTIONS FROM EUROPE: THE BRIDGES OF PRAGUE IN THE CZECH REPUBLIC.
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