I read a few articles about the recent news, that a case the American Atheists had filed to have a piece removed from the 9/11 memorial, that is in the shape of a cross, was thrown out. Here are a couple, you can read for yourself:
I have a few thoughts. I’m not going to post all of my thoughts, as I, like anyone, can tend to fall into the area of uber-judgment. Instead, I have a few thoughts, I’ll throw out (as if I have anything important to say).
1. I read someone called the cross, in this case, a “secular image”. I don’t get that? I’ve read that before, in defense of a cross somewhere. I don’t get that. How so?
2. Would anyone’s faith be rocked, if the AA were successful in having this removed? While it certainly provided hope to many at the time – and I mean no disrespect here, and I in fact will apologize up front for this question – where is the hope? In the object, or in Christ? The image is just that – an image. Maybe I’m answering question #1 for myself here? If our hope is in that image – we have made an idol out of the cross, and really taken away the real meaning, that Christ died for our sins – all of them, whether, Christian, atheist, muslim, jew, or other…..
3. I heard on a radio program that some were caused physical and emotional harm, or duress, by the sight of this cross at the 9/11 memorial. I cannot find this, or have not found this, in any articles I’ve read. But in hearing that it got me thinking – “Yes, I am also caused physical and emotional duress at the sight.” For a couple reasons:
a. Anything to do with 9/11, reminds me of that time. The fear I and many others felt. The loss of innocence, to some degree. The thought that so many persons’ lives were extinguished in that act….. It is heart wrenching!
b. More important – the image of the cross brings pain to my heart. Many criminals in that time endured this painful form of capital punishment. I can’t even imagine. But Jesus endured this, though he never sinned. One could argue whether capital punishment is warranted until they are blue in the face. But the fact is, Jesus, an innocent man, endured it with no crime committed. And he did so WILLINGLY! for me… And for you! Whether you are Christian, atheist, muslim, jew or other…….. How can that not cause you some sense of duress???
c. And he not only endured the cross. He endured the Father’s wrath. ALL OF IT. In our stead. I can’t even begin to fathom. Not one of us could, as we have never (yet) had complete unity with God in our lives. Those of us who are in Christ will some day. But we’ve never known it yet. Jesus did – and lost it. For me…. And for you…. Whether you are Christian, atheist, muslim, jew or other…
4. The thing is, though, Christ died for me, so that I might live. John 3:16 says, “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life“. Romans 6:23 says we are all worthy of death, due to our sin, but that Jesus gave us the free gift of eternal life. But we do have to receive it. The pain we feel at the sight of the cross, is replaced by pure joy in Christ – IF we are in Christ. If not, all you have is pain. I get that. There is no hope…..
But friend, there is hope. Please, I pray, don’t continue to harden your heart. God is working on your heart, if you are feeling pain. Don’t close it out, and suppress what you already know. Ask God to reveal Himself to you – He already has…. Humble yourself before the Lord. Draw near to Him – He WILL draw near to you….