In the closing chapter of C.S. Lewis’ The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, Lucy realizes that they have completed their trip and must return home. They are at the end of the world and Aslan’s country lies just ahead. However much she wants to enter that country, she knows it is not possible for her, her brother Edmund or cousin Eustace, and that all of them must return to our world:
“Oh, Aslan!!” said Lucy. “Will you tell us how to get into your country from our world?”
“I shall be telling you all the time,” said Aslan. “But I will not tell you how long or short the way will be; only that it lies across a river. But do not fear that, for I am the great Bridge Builder. And now come; I will open the door in the sky and send you to your own land.”
This passage hit a deeper chord when I read it this time around because of an article written by LDS President Thomas S. Monson that was published in the January 2008 Ensign entitled “The Master Bridge Builder.” Pres. Monson explained that Jesus Christ was the supreme architect and builder of bridges for you, for me, for all humankind; that Christ has built the bridges over which we must cross if we are to reach our heavenly home.
Pres. Monson quoted a poem by Will Allen Dromgoole:
The Bridge Builder
An old man, going a lone highway,
Came at the evening, cold and gray,
To a chasm, vast and deep and wide,
Through which was flowing a sullen tide.
The old man crossed in the twilight dim;
The sullen stream had no fears for him;
But he turned when safe on the other side
And built a bridge to span the tide.
“Old man,” said a fellow pilgrim near,
“You are wasting strength with building here;
Your journey will end with the ending day;
You never again must pass this way;
You have crossed the chasm, deep and wide—
Why build you the bridge at the eventide?”
The builder lifted his old gray head:
“Good friend, in the path I have come,” he said,
“There followeth after me today
A youth whose feet must pass this way.
This chasm that has been naught to me
To that fair-haired youth may a pitfall be.
He, too, must cross in the twilight dim;
Good friend, I am building the bridge for him.”
Pres. Monson then went on to explain that Jesus Christ, the master builder, built a trilogy of personal bridges here in mortality, and showed us the way to cross them by following Him.
The first bridge is the bridge of OBEDIENCE. Jesus “ was an unfailing example of personal obedience as He kept the commandments of His Father.”
The second bridge provided by Christ for us to cross is the bridge of SERVICE. “We look to the Savior as our example of service. Although He came to earth as the Son of God, He humbly served those around him. …The bridge of service invites us to cross over it frequently.”
The third bridge the Lord provided for us is the bridge of PRAYER. He directed “Pray always, and I will pour out my Spirit upon you, and great shall be your blessing.” (Doctrine and Covenants19:38)
Pres. Monson concluded his article by saying: “Jesus, the Master Bridge Builder, spanned that vast chasm we call death. ‘For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.’ (1 Corinthians 15:22) He did for us what we could not do for ourselves; hence, humankind can cross the bridges He built—into life eternal. …I pray that we may have the wisdom and determination to cross the bridges the Savior built for each of us.”
Aslan’s words to Lucy about him building bridges that she can cross over to get to his country are an echo of how Jesus Christ, the master bridge builder, built the bridges of obedience, service and prayer over which we must pass on our road to life eternal.
The full text of Pres. Monson’s article may be viewed at: