When I was a boy, I stood atop the Word Trade Center and felt like I was standing on top of the world.
We were in NYC for a family vacation. Mom’s cousins our guides, they expertly took us through that labyrinthine city with deft skill. We road the subway, walked for miles, toured a submarine and an aircraft carrier. We heard foreign languages and saw people from all over the world.
Then, in the afternoon sun and steady wind, we stood on top of the world.
A heady experience. It made my knees quake. To this day, my insides change a bit when I recall this memory. The observation deck was higher than the roof actually, and centralized so that you couldn’t get near the edge. A tall chainlink fence with barbed wire reminded the tourists where they belonged. But none of that occluded The View. We were above it all. Someone nearby told us the story of Philippe Petit’s high wire walk between the towers–and again, my head spun and my knees quaked.
And yet, I wasn’t afraid, exactly. It was exhilarating. I thought, “How did humans make this? How can we make such things? HOW?
All of this came rushing back the morning of September 11, 2001. I was in Operating Room #1 passing instruments for one of our General Surgeons. Suddenly one of our colleagues came in and said a plane hit the WTC. He was joker typically; we instantly scrutinized his face, and saw that he was dead serious. The case concluded and I entered a very somber break room and saw those fateful images on the television. Of course, That Morning got worse and worse.
Again, quaking knees. Again, a spinning head. Again, the questions: “How did they do it?” How could they do it?” But now we scream another question–WHY?
We humans are simultaneously glorious and wretched. The Christian story is very frank about this–created in the Image of God, we are capable of tremendous good–we’ve created masterworks of architecture, music, art, technology, literature. And yet, we’re fallen, bent, wretched–capable of the greatest villainy the world has ever seen. The more advanced we claim to “progress” as a race, the more self-destructive we behave. Now, to the best question: WHO?
Who will rescue us from our fallenness and restore us to the Glory we sense is our true origin and true destiny–to be the brilliant reflectors of the most glorious, capable, true, good and beautiful One? Jesus Christ–the Son of God–Fully God, Fully Human–He promises to take our wretchedness, kill it, and give us eternal life if we believe in Him. With Him we will create more beautiful buildings, even greater masterworks–and no longer the machinery of murder. Amen. Come quickly, Lord Jesus.