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My husband organized a day trip for the family this week. We drove to the Santa Cruz area and visited Natural Bridges State Beach, the Monarch Butterfly Natural Preserve, and Capitola Beach and Village. It was such a beautiful day!

While there, we also went to the Visitor Center near the beach. It was interesting to see the change in the 5 pictures displayed of the Natural Bridges from 1904 to 1984. I was amazed at the natural beauty of what I saw today, but when I saw the photo from 1904, it made me sad to think that so much has eroded over time.

I came home and did some research and found the following:

Natural Bridges State Beach is named for the naturally occurring mudstone bridges that were carved by the Pacific Ocean into cliffs that jutted out into the sea. The arches formed over a million years ago when a combination of silt, clay, and diatoms was solidified into a mixture of stone that formed the three original arches of the beach. Wave erosion carved the arches and then cut away the cliffs leaving only islands.

Of the three original arches only the middle one remains. The outermost arch fell sometime in 1905 or 1906, and the inner arch collapsed during a storm on the night of January 10, 1980. The middle arch is in danger of collapsing as well due to erosion by wind and waves.

Visitors were formerly permitted to climb up, walk and even drive on the bridges. Now the arch is closed to public access.(

This visit along with a friend's comment on Facebook about spiritual apathy in Western cultures made me ponder ... We may not be able to control the erosion of the natural elements around us. In the future, the natural bridges will be washed away - like they never existed. The mudstone that allowed for the waves to shape it also led to its demise.

On the other hand, when it comes to spiritual things, we have to constantly keep spiritual truths or principles at the forefront or they will fade away. These are notes from a Christian HomeWord parenting newsletter I receive regularly:

The Biblical method of transmitting faith to the next generation is quite clear. The Hebrews call it the Shema. Found in Deuteronomy 6:4-9, the Shema is still the most often quoted Scripture. Recited every morning and evening in Orthodox Jewish homes, it is also the standard for our Christian faith:

"Hear, O Israel: The Lord, our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the door frames of your houses and on your gates."

Notice that the Shema teaches three key elements of faith: loyalty to God, transmission of your faith to your children, and how you should daily go about sharing your faith with your family. The key to transmitting your faith is found in verse 6: “These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts.” Then, only after you nurture your own loyalty to God can you “impress them on your children.”

Excitement for God and His Word is caught, not just taught. Children see, children do. If our teenagers watch us cut corners and compromise integrity repeatedly, why wouldn’t they do the same? If our teens watch us pursuing our own faith development with authenticity, they will most likely want to follow in our footsteps.

This is the most important week for us Christians. Let's make sure that we pass on these truths - the foundation of our faith - that Jesus gave His life for us so that we can be saved.

I have included some pics of the bridges over time. But I have also included a video of Matt Redman's song "King of Calvary". The first verse reminds us to remember:

Should I forget the kindness of Your heart Should I forget how beautiful Your grace O lead me to that old and rugged cross And let these eyes be opened once again

Keep the faith!

AnnMarguerite Jones