MOMENTS WITH THE MINISTER: A moment that changed the world

By Todd Catteau
Special to the Herald Democrat

A Day that Changed the World

Tomorrow marks the 20th anniversary of a day that changed the world. International politics, travel security measures, governmental agencies have all been dramatically affected by that day – not to mention the thousands of families who mourned and continue to mourn the loss of loved ones. That day was so significant we often refer to our history as pre 9/11 and post 9/11. Even if you don’t remember the day or were not born yet, that day has affected your life. The world is a different place because of that day. It’s amazing how a single day can change the world.

There have been other days like that throughout history but perhaps none so significant as the day Christ came. Literally billions of lives have been impacted for the good by the life of Jesus. D. James Kennedy in his book What If Jesus Had Never Been Born? spends over 200 pages detailing all the good that has come from the life of Jesus and the Christian church that he formed to carry on his teachings and values. In summary he writes, “Despite its humble origins, the Church has made more changes on earth for the good than any other movement or force in history.”

While some cite the violence brought into the world in the name of religion and make the claim that the world would be a better place without any religion, including Christianity, Rebecca McLaughlin debunks that allegation in her book Confronting Christianity. “Does religion cause violence? It certainly can,” she writes. “But millions of people are driven by their faith to love and serve others. And Christianity, in particular, has served as a fertilizer for democracy, a motivation for justice, and a mandate for healing. If we think the world would be less violent without it, we may need to check our facts.”

I’ve always been moved by the words of this short poem, One Solitary Life:

He was born in an obscure village, the child of a peasant. He grew up in another village, where he worked in a carpenter shop until he was 30. Then, for three years, he was an itinerant preacher.

He never wrote a book. He never held an office. He never had a family or owned a home. He didn't go to college. He never lived in a big city. He never traveled 200 miles from the place where he was born. He did none of the things that usually accompany greatness. He had no credentials but himself.

He was only 33 when the tide of public opinion turned against him. His friends ran away. One of them denied him. He was turned over to his enemies and went through the mockery of a trial. He was nailed to a cross between two thieves. While he was dying, his executioners gambled for his garments, the only property he had on earth. When he was dead, he was laid in a borrowed grave, through the pity of a friend.

Twenty centuries have come and gone, and today he is the central figure of the human race. I am well within the mark when I say that all the armies that ever marched, all the navies that ever sailed, all the parliaments that ever sat, all the kings that ever reigned--put together--have not affected the life of man on this earth as much as that one, solitary life.

It’s impossible to deny that the coming of Christ changed the world, and it’s unreasonable to deny that that change has been for the better. Thanks be to God, the world is a different place because of that life.

Todd Catteau

Todd Catteau is the preaching minister for the Park Avenue Church of Christ in Denison. He and his wife, Henriann, have four children and two grandsons. He is a native of Massachusetts and loves his Boston sports teams. His writings and links to sermons can be found at catteau.net. The views and opinions expressed here are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect those of the Herald Democrat.