They air was thick, the sky dark and the stench overpowering. Metal, wires and burning fires formed the debris of the world trade centers, it was a mountain of suffering. New York city and the country was brought to its knees by the terrible acts committed on September 11, 2001. Human suffering is incomparable, tragedy is unforgettable and none of it makes sense.
Two days later a 20 foot steel beam cross was found amid the rubble. This cross strengthened rescue workers, symbolized hope for the country and was a memorial to the lost. Most of all though, the cross was there.
The cross is the most recognizable Christian sign because it synthesizes best what Jesus Christ came to this earth as man to do ‘for by his suffering and cross we were healed’ c.f. 1Peter 2:24. In other words Jesus understands what it means to be human and what it means to suffer. What is more he is present amidst all the rubble and debris of our life, though sometimes its hard to find him. The cross doesn’t stop at suffering, that is sadistic. The cross is our prized trophy of God’s defeat over sin in our lives. The cross is our victory.
But does someone who is suffering want victory? Would they care about a trophy for it? No, a suffering person doesn’t want to be alone and that’s what the cross at ground zero means to me. In all of our suffering, we are not alone.