September 20, 2017
“A Monument Worth Saving”
“We preach Christ crucified, an offense to the Jews and foolishness to Gentiles.”
1 Corinthians 1:23
These days, there is intense disagreement and very strong feeling about whether or not certain monuments and statues should be removed from public view. While the statues of those who lived in a different time of our history cannot do any actual harm today, it is understandable that there would be a desire to forget what they commemorate by removing them.
However, remembering what we would rather forget has solemn value. Several years ago, I visited the Dachau concentration camp outside Munich, Germany, the first Nazi camp of many to follow. It was a depressing reminder of atrocities committed not only against Jews, but also political enemies, non-Germans, and clergy, to name a few whose lives ended miserably on those grounds. The torture rooms and ovens remain as a grim memorial of man’s inhumanity to man.
Yet, it is maintained as a tourist destination—not for entertainment purposes, but to remember that we should never forget what sinful human nature is capable of doing. A 1991 movie about death camp survivor Mel Mermelstein and his battle against revisionists who claim the Holocaust never happened is fittingly titled, “Never Forget”. Monuments that preserve our past can help us to never forget that evil resides in human nature and must be resisted.
No monument does that more completely than the one that commemorates every evil, great and small, that has ever been committed in the history of this planet: the cross of Jesus Christ. It was our collective wickedness that nailed Him to it. Yet it was the will of the Father that He should suffer to make satisfaction for our sins and reconcile us to Himself. Now alive and in heaven, Christ will never suffer again for sins. His work for our salvation is complete.
Sadly, some misguided churches have removed the cross so as not to offend others. Instead, we should gladly lift high the cross and never forget the blood that was shed for us on it. Let us remember the cross not just with our eyes, but with our hearts in humble daily repentance, believing that by it, our sins are forgiven. While the cross does offend the proud, for the humble it is the greatest source of joy and freedom in Christ.
It is a monument worth saving, for on it God counted us worth saving. .
Grace, mercy, and peace,