A Span of Bridges

A Span of Bridges

Completed in 1932 from 53,000 tons of steel and 6 million rivets the Sydney Harbour Bridge has stood the test of time. This is because it was built at a time when bridge design, reliable manufacture of quality steel, properly controlled supervision, and hot riveting were all well understood and developed.

Somehow I connect the Hot Rivet process to the Beatitudes (Matt 5). I think this is because both have to be installed well if they are to hold their structures together over time.

In order to install Meekness for instance, one has to become just a little meek in attitude to start with or the ego will not allow the Holy Spirit to develop it. The Holy Spirit will not do anything against our will, so the development of Beatitude qualities requires our active co-operation.

The Hot Rivet method of joining steel to steel became highly developed in early ship building. Steel plates were shaped and prepared with rivet holes and the overlapping joints well cleaned.   The plates were brought together and the Hot Riveting begun.

Rivets were heated in a forge until cherry red hot, taken out with tongs and thrown up to the riveter high on the scaffolding.   He would catch them in a bucket and place them in the holes using his tongs. Then he would hold a dolly (small anvil) to the rivet head while another riveter would close over the rivet on the other side with a pneumatic hammer.

The reason for putting the rivets in hot is simply that on cooling they contract and hold the joint closed with immense pressure preventing any movement from causing wear which would eventually destroy the joints and bring down the whole bridge.

So we must not just dress up with the Beatitudes externally as if with an array of bling, but work with the Holy Spirit to ensure they are well installed in our hearts to create a spiritual structure that can stand the test of time.

Oh, if you’re into disaster videos, check out ‘Tacoma Narrows Bridge Collapse’ on YouTube.

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