On September 13, 2001 workers at Ground Zero uncovered a 20-foot cross – two steel beams forged in the fire of heartbreak. Revealed as rubble was cleared away, this symbol of faith and hope immediately became a place of prayer for exhausted and grief-stricken workers and clergy.
Now ten years later, the 9/11 cross is slated to be on permanent display in the National September 11 Memorial and Museum. But if the New Jersey based group, “American Atheists,” get their way, the cross will be banned. According to a recent story in World Magazine the group claims they have experienced trauma, depression, and physical ailments because the religious tradition of the cross has been “imposed upon them through the power of the state.”
In other words, these atheists have been offended by the cross.
My response: “So, get in line.”
Long history of being offended by the Cross
Taking offense to the cross of Christ is nothing new. People have been offended by the cross for more than 2,000 years. Funny, the world is offended, but Jesus “scorned its shame” (Hebrews 12:2) to obey the Father and provide our salvation.
Here are just a few of the polarizing responses produced by the cross of Christ:
- Considered “foolishness” to those who are perishing, but recognized as the “power of God” to those who believe (1 Corinthians 1:18).
- The message of the cross fosters both peace Colossians 1:20) and war (Philippians 3:18).
- Our response to Christ’s death on the cross can condemn or justify (John 3:16-18; Col 2:14).
- The cross both heals and offends (1 Peter 2:24).
Are you offended by the cross? If you are a believer, perhaps you refrain from speaking about the cross of Christ because you are afraid someone will take offense. Believers, may we not be afraid of offense but hold high the cross of Christ. For it is the “power of God for salvation to those who believe” (Romans 1:16).
Who will you risk offending today?