Today we remember the 9/11 tragedy of 17 years ago — the abrupt loss of life, the dazed faces of dust-covered women and men who made it out of the towers alive and the sheer bewilderment that something like this could happen. The trauma may have diminished, but the struggle to understand remains.

I have been reading the autobiography of Lesslie Newbigin, Unfinished Agenda (Eerdmans, 1985). In the last few words of the book, he gave expression to my own ponderings that I found spiritually meaningful as I journey through the already-not yet. I hope you find it meaningful too.

“I still see the cross of Jesus as the one place in all the history of human culture where there is a final dealing with the ultimate mysteries of sin and forgiveness, of bondage and freedom, of conflict and peace, of death and life. Although there is much that is puzzling, so much that I simply do not understand and so much that is unpredictable, I find here — as I have again and again found during the past fifty years — a point from which one can take one’s bearing and a light in which one can walk, however stumblingly. I know that that guiding star will remain and that that light will shine till death and in the end. And that is enough.”

Frank A. James III, DPhil, PhD
President and Professor of Historical Theology