One of reasons that many people come to Park Rapids is the many lakes surrounding our town. Where I came from, there are not many lakes or bodies of water, and so I appreciate having them so abundant in my new hometown. I especially love having a river that runs through town. It is a beautiful setting, made even more beautiful by the red bridge that crosses it. This red bridge is one of the distinguishing landmarks in Park Rapids. Sadly, however, it was recently deemed necessary to tear this landmark down and replace it with a safer, sturdier steel bridge.
When I think of the crane that is sitting there now that took the bridge off, I am reminded of a verse in the Book of Proverbs that says this: “Remove not the ancient landmark, which thy fathers have set.” This is found in Proverbs 22:28. In ancient Israel, as now, there were boundary markings that showed where a property started and ended. One man’s property might go from a tree to a stone to a post to another stone. It was important to mark these out so that one was not defrauded of land given to them by God and their ancestors. However, sometimes a neighbor would sneak out at night and move the stone west by a few yards in order to gain more land. God is saying in this verse to not do that, because it is the same thing as stealing.
Another application of this, however, is that we should not abandon old principles simply because they are old. Principles of decency, honesty, and deferring to others should still be upheld. Sadly, many virtues today are dismissed as being “Victorian.” Those principles, founded on God’s Word, that made America great should still be held, and instead of tearing them down, we should actually build upon them. Those ancient landmarks are worth keeping.
I understand the reasons for tearing down the red bridge. It was not very wide and perhaps not very safe. Landmarks that will cause harm are not worth having. I am glad, at least, that they are replacing it, rather than leaving an open space there. A steel bridge will be safer for all, and in time we will grow to accept it. I just hope it will be red.