Archive for September 11th, 2020


The cross at Ground Zero | RiverheadLOCAL

Fr. Pierre de Chardin was a priest in the Roman Catholic Church, a theologian and a paleontologist.  He eventually succumbed to teaching false doctrine  which Lutherans and Roman Catholics agree is false, but when he was a young priest, Fr. de Chardin served as a stretcher bearer in the French Army in the front lines of World War I.  He wrote many letters to his cousin who was the head mistress of a Catholic girls school.  Excerpt of these letters are in The Making of Mind:  Letters from a Soldier-Priest 1914-1919.

He wrote to his cousin about a terrible battle named for its locale, Froideterre hill.  He has this reflection:

I don’t know what sort of monument the country will later put on Froideterre hill to commemorate the great battle.  There’s only one that would be appropriate:  a great figure of Christ. Only the image of the crucified can sum up,  express and relieve all the horror, and beauty, all the hope and deep mystery in such an avalanche of conflict and sorrows.

And in the ruins of the World Trade Center, these twisted steel beams were found in the shape of a cross.  This cross was put up right in the ruins and Mayor Guiliani had pedestal built for it. Eventually the cross, or the Ground Zero Cross was put into the National September 11 Memorial & Museum.

Only the image of the crucified can sum up,  express and relieve all the horror, and beauty, all the hope and deep mystery in such an avalanche of conflict and sorrows. Where it once stood on the empty footprint of the World Trade Center, was on a cemetery. Today the names of the deceased are read to remember.  I think a crucifix is an even better reminder as it specifically draws one to the God who bore the sin of the world:  in His flesh:  Jesus Christ who bore the sin of our flesh.   The crucifix is not an idol but a pointed reminder of the cost of the sin of this world:  God’s own Son in death.  The Son ever points us to the Father and He to us and the salvation of the world, the One who bore our sin,  He bore its pain, the sinless One in the sinners’ stead.  The Cross is ground zero, showing us the zero sum of sin and the risen Lord fills us up with the fulness of His mercy and hope.

God’s Law says to sin Never Again, but we do transgress again and again.  God’s Gospel says to sinners, I have sacrificed my whole life for your forgiveness, and I do not die, never again to die.  I am risen bearing the marks of the Cross, ever again for you to live.   “We preach Christ and Him Crucified”, again and again.  We are baptized into Christ, into His death and resurrection that we are His again. Many of our brothers and sisters in Christ died on this day. We receive the gifts of His Body and Blood in the Holy Communion, again and again to strengthen faith and thereby quicken love. We confess our sin and receive His forgiveness again and again. We pray to the Lord for this world regarding terrorism, Lord, never again. Not only terrorism from abroad but in our own country.  We pray for those who mourn that the Lord comfort them in all their sorrows, again and again, with the comfort we ourselves have received from the Lord.  We give thanks for the firemen, police, emergency works, soldiers, sailors and airmen who protect our country and died for our constitutional freedoms, again and again.  We give thanks for the firemen and police who  went into the burning World Trade Center to seek and save the lost. We pray the Church be the cruciform sign of His mercy in a merciless world, again and again, that we say to the devil and his empty promises, never again and live as His people, “…that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world” (Philippians 2: 15)

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