9/11 Reminds Us of Another City That Is To Come
Today marks the 13th anniversary of the terrible attack on our nation.
For many of us, the images of the Twin Towers burning against the New York skyline still resonates in our minds and hearts. Such images serve as vivid reminders of the depth of human wickedness. Questions naturally cross my mind like, what kind of people could imagine such atrocity and follow through with such evil intent? What kind of person could contemplate and harbor such malice in their hearts? Scripture answers these questions when it sadly describes the human heart this way: “The heart is more deceitful than all else and is desperately sick; who can understand it?”
Whenever we consider the evils of 9/11, we are forced to come face to face with the depths of wickedness that reside deep in the recesses of the human heart.
Scripture identifies such evil as sin and we are all guilty. For most of us, we will never contemplate such atrocity against another human being. This is why we find ourselves very often shocked and grieved by the evil potential of the human condition. National tragedies like the destruction of the Twin Towers remind us all how desperate the world is for a savior to rescue us from the torrent of evil that seems determined to destroy all God has created. St. Paul’s lament — “Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death”(Romans 7:24) — testifies to our need and longing for redemption from this world. Who will save us? In times of great darkness, however, the light of the gospel shines brightest. As Christians we are constantly reminded by scripture to look past the temporal sufferings of this world for the hope that is to come (Romans 8:18).
Out of darkness springs forth light.
Today something marvelous has taken the place of the Twin Towers. A new “Freedom Tower” now stands as a testimony to the resolve of the citizens of New York and America. Where terror sought to destroy the spirit of America and leave her heart in ruin, the memorials that now stand in the shadows of the former Twin Towers point to a fortitude that defines who we are as a people. They also serve as a reminder of a much deeper truth. That despite the efforts “of the rulers, authorities and cosmic powers and principalities over this present darkness, and the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places (Ephesians 10:12),” they will not succeed. Christ’s work on the cross has conquered sin and death once for all and his kingdom is now expanding into this world (Matt. 4:1-11, 16-17).
The tragedy of 9/11 ultimately reminds us all of the temporal and transitory nature of all of life.
Where towers once stood, only their ruins now remain. Our hope then is not on edifices or constructions of mankind but on the promise of Christ’s return and his promise of a new heaven and earth. Perhaps the greatest comfort we can share with others still grieving this loss resides in our faith in the existence of another city that cannot be destroyed nor attacked by the vain machinations of man. It is a “heavenly city” whose “architect and builder is God” (Hebrews 11:10,17).
So as we pause and reflect on the tragic events of 9/11, let us continue to offer up prayers of restoration and hope to all those still suffering the effects of that tragedy. Let us also cling to the hope that one day, we all will enter into that final rest where we indeed will have no more tears and no more suffering.
How does the author of Hebrews description of another city ignite your faith and bring comfort to your soul?