Last weekend we watched the movie 9/11 as a family. I don’t want to offer a critique of the movie as I seriously doubt that any two-hour movie will ever be able to capture the
enormous *thud* that dropped into the hearts of Americans that morning when human
innocence was savagely plundered and annihilated. (I can say that I nearly turned the movie off a few times as offensive language seemed overused.)
What captured my heart in the movie was the Marine in Connecticut who sat inside a church and stared up at the cross that hung up front. He told the pastor/priest beside
him that he felt called to go help at the World Trade Center and, in the end, was the person who found the two police officers buried in the rubble.
The cross was displayed here and there and flashed over the screen a couple of times throughout the movie and, as I’m sure you remember, people rallied around the hope of the cross and church attendance skyrocketed during the month of September, 2011. Perhaps the most poignant memory of the cross from the horrific scenes from 9/11 is the picture that shows workmen at Ground Zero lifting a few steel beams that had somehow dropped into the rubble and formed the shape of a cross.
Of course, a national atheist group filed a lawsuit to block the inclusion of the 9/11 cross from a memorial at the World Trade Center site. It’s especially meaningful
considering the love that the cross represents that, erected at Ground Zero, stood as a statement of suffering love against religious hatred.
So what is my point?
My point is that when we lift up the cross, we lift up two polar opposites:
1. Hope to those being saved
2. Offense to the perishing
For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God (I Corinthians 1:17).
If we lift up the cross, there will be reactions from both. So, is it worth it to us as a
believer in Jesus Christ to lift the cross for the few that will respond? Is it worth it to us as a believer to take the chance that someone will be offended?
The Apostle Paul (a highly educated atheist in his early life) said, “For, as I have often told you before and now tell you again even with tears, many live as enemies of the cross of Christ (Philippians 3:18).”
I say, “So what?” Jesus has enemies. What else is new? Do we hide the cross in fear of offending someone? Or do we lift the cross in hope of helping someone? Where is our
backbone? Where is our compassion for the lost?
If I am being dramatic here, I am not alone. In closing I share with you the dramatic words of the famous 19th century preacher, Charles Spurgeon:
“Oh, my brothers and sisters in Christ, if sinners will be damned, at least let them leap to hell over our bodies; and if they will perish, let them perish with our arms about their knees, imploring them to stay, and not madly to destroy themselves. If hell must be filled, at least let it be filled in the teeth of our exertions, and let not one go there unwarned and