Okay. I am from Prince Edward Island. If you detect even a hint of a bias – please be gracious in your response.
Long before the initials of P.E.I. were known, the Island had other names. The European explorer Jacques Cartier came across the island in 1534 and recorded: “the fairest land ’tis possible to see!” But Cartier wasn’t the first to discover it. The indigenous Aboriginal people, the Mi’kmaq, called the Island Abegweit,” which means “the land cradled on the waves.” Even the shape of the emerald island, nestled in the waters of the Gulf of St. Lawrence, in the Atlantic Ocean – suggest a rocking cradle.
Lucy Maud Montgomery, the author of Anne of Green Gables, added fame to the red soil of Prince Edward Island. The Island measures 280 kilometres (175 miles) from tip to tip and is between six kilometres (four miles) and 64 kilometres (40 miles) wide. Only 146,000 people live on our Island. Well over a million visitors leave the mainland and come over to Prince Edward Island every year.
Some hard-nosed statisticians and bottom-line capitalists/politicians have cast aspersions on the economic viability and the legitimacy of Canada’s smallest province. “Move the people off the island to the center. Shut it down. It’s an economic drain on Canada.” People who have uttered such statements have lived to rue (bitterly regret) the day they ever uttered such heresy publicly. ‘Fake news!’ – they claim, years later, when they deny even having hinted at such a preposterous idea. But Islanders have long memories when it comes time to cast their ballots.
Prince Edward Island is known as the birthplace of Canada. The possibility of one nation was first formally discussed in Charlottetown in 1864. One of the conditions of PEI joining the confederation of Canada was a ‘continuous connection’ between the mainland and the island. For well over a century, that connection was a ferry system. But people dreamed of a much more efficient crossing – a tunnel under the 14 kilometres-wide Northumberland Strait – or maybe a causeway or a bridge. In fact, back in the 60’s, approach roads were constructed on both Prince Edward Island and New Brunswick – but the connecting causeway was never built. The cost was far too great and the impact on the environment much too high. The project was abandoned.
Decades passed and then, in the 1980’s – the dream of a bridge that would span the ocean waters was revived and gained traction. Dreamers said it could be done and so did engineers. But farmers, fishermen, tourism operators, and residents of Prince Edward Island had strong and conflicting opinions about the idea. Would the bridge enable ‘mainland badness’ to infiltrate the Island way of life? Worst case scenarios were imagined. The bridge would block the flow of ice and delay the arrival of Spring – making apple trees blossom later in the season. Some solemnly swore they would never use the bridge. It would be another government monstrosity – a white elephant indeed!
Islanders hotly debated the idea of a bridge in coffee shops and around kitchen tables and in the legislature. But decision time arrived. Premier Joseph Ghiz asked Prince Edward Islanders to make the final decision in a plebiscite. On January 18, 1988, 59.4% of Islanders voted “Yes” to a fixed link.
Strait Crossing Development Inc., a private sector consortium agreed with the Government of Canada to design, build, finance and operate the Confederation Bridge up until 2032 – at which time, the Federal Government would assume responsibility for the bridge.
Construction commenced in 1993. Every piece and section of the bridge was built on land on both sides of the Northumberland Strait and then floated out by the European sea-crane ‘The Svanen’. As the massive sections were dropped into place from both sides, like lego pieces, the gap in the center became smaller and smaller.
Five thousand employees and 3.5 million tons of concrete poured, and yes, one billion dollars later – the engineering marvel was nearing completion. The gap in the center was about to be spanned.
On November 19, 1996 at 11:30PM, there was a major celebration. What happened? The main girder (630’ long or 92 metres), weighing 7,500 tons was dropped into the middle gap. The bridge was finished. Toll booths were then constructed, finishing touches were added and the paving was completed.
On May 31, 1997 the bridge was officially opened for traffic.
Five Spiritual Lessons
from the Confederation Bridge
- There is a spiritual gap – a distance between ourselves and God.
The separating distance between New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island was 12.9 kilometers (8 miles). A far greater spiritual separation exists between us and God. People often say they feel a huge ‘disconnect’ from God. That’s because there is, by natural birth, a separation caused by sin. No one is exempt; no one can escape this personal reality. The Bible says:
“Your iniquities have made a separation between you and your God, and your sins have hidden His face from you…” Isaiah 59:2
- Human efforts to span the distance ultimately will fail.
People try many things to span the gap between them and God. They try to build their own bridges to God but ultimately fail. Prayers, religion, and good works (with much sincerity), are the most common bridge-building strategies; but the Bible says all such efforts are futile and doomed to fail. Kind deeds and good works and sincerity seem like legitimate human strategies to connect ourselves to God, but they end in spiritual disaster.
“There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way to death.” Proverbs 14:12
“For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard.” Romans 3:23 NLT
“… no one will be declared righteous in God’s sight by the works of the law [by keeping the Ten Commandments]; rather, through the law we become conscious of our sin. Romans 3:20 NIV
The Bible is very specific about the inadequacy of human efforts and good works, on our part, to make ourselves right with God. Ephesians 2:8,9 emphatically declares that our good works have absolutely nothing to do with our own salvation. So does Titus 3:5.
- The price was steep. The cost was high – but God values you so much, He was willing to pay the price.
The only way for the distance between the sinner and a Holy God to be spanned was undertaken by God Himself. He sent His Son Jesus to Planet Earth. Jesus was born to die. He came to pay the penalty of our sin – to bear the punishment our sins deserved. That’s the big story of the Bible. The story of the Cross.
“For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God. He was put to death in the body but made alive in the Spirit.” 1Peter 3:18 NIV
The price of God’s Bridge was not one billion dollars.
“…you were ransomed [redeemed] … not with perishable things such as silver or gold, but with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without blemish or spot.” 1Peter 1:18-19 The precious blood of God’s beloved Son was the total price paid for you to have a connection to God.
- The work is finished. Nothing remains for you to do.
On November 19, 1996, there was a big celebration. The last huge span was dropped into place and the bridge was finished. The connection from both sides was made. Finished.
Before Jesus expired on the Cross, He said (in our English language) – a three-word sentence.
“It is finished!” John 19:30
He didn’t say He completed 75% of the work of salvation and you must complete the remaining 25% by your efforts. That’s what religion teaches. But Jesus never said that! He said with a loud triumphant voice: “It is finished!” Jesus is the only way to God.
Jesus said: “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. John 14:6
- 5. Available to all but it’s a personal matter.
The Confederation Bridge was finished and it is available to all – anyone who would like to come to PEI – can drive on the bridge to the Island. But it is a personal choice. The bridge is there – but only those who drive across it will benefit from it. Many will never come to PEI.
By the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ – the only way to God has been opened-up. But, only those who come to Jesus in faith, trusting Him as their personal Saviour – will benefit from the way He opened-up by His death on the Cross. They are the only ones who have their sins forgiven. They are the only ones God accepts. They are the only ones who receive eternal life. They are the only ones who will be in Heaven.
For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. John 3:16
He who believes in the Son has everlasting life; and he who does not believe the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him.” John 3:36
Regarding Jesus, the Bible says: There is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.” Acts 4:12
Are you standing on the other side – looking for another way to God? You will never make it. Will you cross His bridge now? If you would like to discuss this further by email, click here.
Then Jesus said, “Come to Me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Matthew 11:28 NLT