Tim Keller's "Sermon of Remembrance and Peace for 9-11 Victim's Families" in 2006

One of the great themes of the Hebrew Scriptures is that God identifies with the suffering. There are all these great texts that say things like this: If you oppress the poor, you oppress to me. I am a husband to the widow. I am father to the fatherless. I think the texts are saying God binds up his heart so closely with suffering people that he interprets any move against them as a move against him. This is powerful stuff! But Christianity says he goes even beyond that. Christians believe that in Jesus, God’s son, divinity became vulnerable to and involved in – suffering and death! He didn’t come as a general or emperor. He came as a carpenter. He was born in a manger, no room in the inn.

But it is on the Cross that we see the ultimate wonder. On the cross we sufferers finally see, to our shock that God now knows too what it is to lose a loved one in an unjust attack. And so you see what this means? John Stott puts it this way. John Stott wrote: “I could never myself believe in God if it were not for the Cross. In the real world of pain, how could one worship a God who was immune to it?” Do you see what this means? Yes, we don’t know the reason God allows evil and suffering to continue, but we know what the reason isn’t, what it can’t be. It can’t be that he doesn’t love us! It can’t be that he doesn’t care. God so loved us and hates suffering that he was willing to come down and get involved in it. And therefore the Cross is an incredibly empowering hint. Ok, it’s only a hint, but if you grasp it, it can transform you. It can give you strength.

And lastly, we have to grasp an empowering hope for the future. In both the Hebrew Scriptures and even more explicitly in the Christian Scriptures we have the promise of resurrection….

Read it carefully (noting especially the original setting as described) and read it all.


Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Religion News & Commentary, Christology, Evangelicals, Ministry of the Ordained, Other Churches, Parish Ministry, Preaching / Homiletics, Soteriology, Theodicy, Theology

One comment on “Tim Keller's "Sermon of Remembrance and Peace for 9-11 Victim's Families" in 2006

  1. driver8 says:

    I liked this very much and am grateful you posted it. He seemed to me, with a light and graceful touch, to strike all the right notes.

    Like all good sermons it leaves one reflecting. For me, because I agreed with all the main points my thoughts seem even to me incidental to the main thrust of his sermon. All the same I would love to listen to him speak just a little more about how we might best speak about the the Word taking flesh and suffering and dying.

    I’d like to listen to what he meant by that little “now’ (in the sentence that goes something like “in the cross…God now knows too what it is to lose a loved one”). And I’d want to ask what does “now” mean? Doesn’t God already know? That’s one of the things that makes the Cross so astonishing. God knows the cost and is willing to pay it.

    To put it more formally. When we call God omniscient I take it to mean that God knows all that can be known. If it is known by his suffering Creation, then it is known too to God. The wonder of the Cross is not that God learns something new (what suffering or loss is like) but that he knows already and willingly suffers and dies as a man for the salvation of the world.

    Anyway – thanks again for posing it.