The Gospel at Ground Zero

Over the next few days, I will use this space the share some thoughts related to 9/11 and our nation’s time of mourning on the tenth anniversary of that tragic day. I can’t think of a better way to start than by sharing THIS ARTICLE from Christianity Today magazine. The author delves into the controversy surrounding whether networks should show news footage of the attacks in New York. Do you remember the angry, back-and-forth argument? Many contended that showing those violent images could be both tramatic and imflamatory. The argument resurfaced this week with the coverage of the anniversary.

With that as background, read how Russell D. Moore connects that debate the with difficulty that many people have hearing a bloody, violent Gospel story:

Concealing the horror of September 11, whatever its effect on contemporary hatreds, threatens to obscure a horror much greater than Islamic terrorism: the ongoing reality of spiritual warfare. Unalloyed evil of the sort portrayed in 9/11 footage reminds us of forces running deeper than the doctrines or practitioners of any one religion. After witnessing the enormity of the attacks, how can we fail to distinguish the real enemy from our law-abiding Muslim neighbors?

As Christians, we feel a certain squeamishness with our gospel. The Scriptures present a picture of the universe as a war zone, with the present age a satanic empire being invaded by the rival kingdom of Jesus. Talk of such demonic realities rises and falls through the history of the church, oscillating between preoccupation and embarrassment.

And then later:

Let’s join the rest of the world in remembering September 11. Let’s not flinch from the trauma, but let’s not be paralyzed by it either. And along the way, let’s remember to have sympathy for those who flinch at the trauma of our gospel, who wince when the light of God’s judgment exposes their dark places. Let’s remember that the hands we are reaching out with are scabbed over with Roman spike holes, and the cross we are holding out is caked in blood.

Let’s remember, too, that the gospel brings peace and reconciliation to every Ground Zero in the cosmos. On the day when graves are opened, even those accidental tombs beneath the rubble of terror, we will see just how good this news is, even better than our shiny churches and happy choruses can convey.

But between now and then, it can be scary as hell.

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