Sep. 11 and the Gospel

I still remember where I was when it all happened.  I woke up late that morning and flipped on Fox news only to watch a second plane fly into a second building.  I knew immediately this was no coincidence.  I suspect that almost everyone else watching had those same gut wrenching reactions.  what followed was a tragedy that is almost incomprehensible.  It is now a day that will live in infamy as long as their are history books that tell the truth about what happened on that day.  Perhaps what is more troubling about September 11 than anything else is there have been many days like that in history.  Why do those days keep happening?
September 11, December 7, April 20, and many, many more dates of tragedies in history that reveal a great deal about humanity.  On December 7, 1941 my grandpa was suppose to be arriving in Pearl Harbor, but his ship was delayed and he missed the attack by the Japanese.  That day many met death in a watery grave, April 20 is often related to Pot smokers, but a tragedy took place on that date in Littleton, Co at Columbine High School that left students jumping out of school windows to escape the murderous rampage of two boys.  Many similar events have followed, but contrary to popular belief, that was not the first school mass murder by any means.  What all of this reveals about humanity is both tragic and redeeming.
The human spirit is amazing in so many ways, but when we consider these events and so many others, we realize that there is something desperately wrong with the human spirit.  Christians call it sin, sin nature, fallenness, or original sin; the core reality is that the human spirit has a great propensity towards evil and great ingenuity when it comes to carrying out such evil.  Every time something like this happens politicians, faith leaders, and the general public cries out demanding action to address the tragedy so that it never happens again.  There are rallies, bloviating politicians, and cries of sorrow that fill the airwaves driving an agenda that promises to fix the societal ills that have infiltrated our collective psyche.  Once and a while a law is passed or an initiative is started and we all feel a little better…until the next time.
There will always be a next time because the human spirit has been infected with virus that is resistant to every cure save one.  That virus is sin.  That sin boils down to the desire to play god.  That sin is found fundamentally in the belief that we humans can cure the ills of the world.  Of course a little reflection on the highly divided culture we live in should weaken that resolve.  I would never suggest that there is nothing we can do, but I would suggest that the primary thing that needs to happen has little to do with politicians, bloviating, or starting new initiatives; unless that initiative is directly related to the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Repentance and redemption, that is what is needed.  All of humanity, that means every culture and every human, must repent from what is evil, step down from their self-made throne, and kneel at the cross of Jesus.  We must all turn from sin and run hard after Jesus.  The reality is even then tragedy will continue until Jesus sits on the throne.
The apostle Paul reminds us that there is no one who is righteous.  He also reminds us that there is forgiveness of sins for those who receive the gift of God through Christ Jesus (Rom. 3; 5:8; etc).
As I reflect on this infamous day in history I am drawn to another one where the sky became dark, the earth shook, and the veil between God and humanity tore.  That day is the day Jesus of Nazareth died on a Roman cross at the bidding of Jewish leaders.  In spite of Pilate washing his hands, no ones hands are clean except the ones that were pierced.  Out of those hands spilled blood that paid the price for sin (Heb. 9:22).  That is not the end of the story, there was a resurrection that conquered death (1 Cor. 15) and that resurrection would be the first of many.  Should we meet death before the return of Christ, we (those who have embraced the gospel of Jesus) will also be resurrected.  Then and only then will there be no more dying, crying, or sorrow.
The gospel breaks through in the here and now and God’s common grace is seen in the heroism of those who ran into those two buildings on September 11, 2001 and it is seen on a regular basis.  The church must bring the good news of the gospel into the world for the redemption of every human soul, and it must be the reflection of God’s common grace in a world in desperate need.  To those who mourn the loss of a loved one that gave their life on that infamous day, please find the peace that passes understanding.  That peace is only found in Jesus Christ.  To those who follow Jesus, bring that peace to the world, and to those who have visions of evil, repent and follow Jesus.  To all of us, let us find our hope in Jesus rather than a human ingenuity that is compromised by sin and fallenness.

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