On Sunday, August 19th, we are dedicating a cross in the Children’s Garden at Grace UMC in Newburgh, NY. This cross is made of steel I-beams from the World Trade Center and was given to the church on 9/11/2011.
My message that evening as we prepare to dedicate this cross is “Oppression or Freedom – Think Twice” and is based on 2 Samuel 18: 24 – 33, Ephesians 5: 15 – 20, and John 6: 51 – 58. I haven’t begun thinking about all that I am going to say but I do know that one theme that I will use is that “this cross is planted in a Children’s Garden and it is a garden for peace, not violence. Those who want this cross to be a symbol of violence and war must find another cross in another garden.”
I mean no disrespect to those who died in the attacks on 9/11 but I also think that the best memorial that we can offer to them is to insure that such attacks do not happen again. I want to remind the people that the Romans used the cross as a sign of oppression, a sign that one had better think twice before opposing Roman rule. I want to remind the people that the religious authorities of that day didn’t mind using the cross to remind those that followed Jesus that disturbing the status quo and the power structure wasn’t a good idea.
And finally I want to remind people that through Christ’s Resurrection, the cross is a sign of hope and freedom.
What I want to do is conclude the message with the beginning of the litany that dedicates the cross. Here are the beginning lines of that litany:
- Let this cross be a reminder that Christ died so that we may live;
- Let this cross, meant to be a symbol of defeat, be a symbol of victory;
- Let this cross, meant to oppress, be a symbol of hope;
- Let this cross remind us that in and through Christ we work for freedom and justice.I would like to add a few more lines to this. What would you suggest?