Function and Form

by DanWolgemuth on April 25, 2008

For several years I frequented the Tower Thistle Hotel in London. The proximity of the hotel made it very convenient for regular business meetings. The property is situated on the Thames River beside the Tower Bridge. Without exception I found myself spellbound as I walked into the hotel. The elegance and beauty of the bridge captured me, regardless of the weightiness of the business agenda.

The uniqueness of the Tower Bridge is best defined as the perfection of form and function coming together. The breathtaking visual appeal provides a compelling invitation to come, while the engineering, the stone and the steel provide a worthy platform for use. This is not a static landmark but rather a dynamic, heavily utilized transportation corridor.

This complete picture, the power of form and function dancing in complimentary harmony, provides a snapshot of the syllabus that I believe Jesus was using in His teaching in the Sermon on the Mount. The very first words of His discourse in Matthew 5:3-11 center on the finesse that exists between beauty and power. Strength and comfort come together to provide a bond that Christians are wise to understand.

Humility, mercy, brokenness and peacemaking embrace righteousness, holiness, courage and zeal. It is a beautiful, invitational message that accommodates the rush-hour traffic of real life. To miss the balance is to shortcut the message. Too much “form”and we provide the

“appearance of godliness, but denying it’s power.” (2 Timothy 3:5)

Too much function and we provide a thoroughfare without traffic.

It is the compelling love of Jesus that enables us to be ambassadors for Christ, as God makes His appeal through us. (2 Corinthians 5:14, 20)

The authentic message of Jesus is attractive, just as it is strong and sure.

Legalism and liberalism are not in the design of this bridge. It is engineered by the love of God and constructed with the sacrificial steel of Jesus’ blood. Yes, form and function dance together. They provide a beautiful pathway that will stand against all enemies. It is a narrow pathway, but it is sure and lined with hope.

This is the substance of what Jonathan Edwards called the “diverse excellencies” of God. It is rich, beautiful, and useful. It invites as it accomplishes.

Truth with compassion. Love without compromise.

Form embracing function. A bridge of beauty that sustains the traffic.

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