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CBN.com Scott Ross [reporting]: September 11, 2001, will forever be known as one of the darkest days in American history. Nearing the anniversary of the attack, I met with Pastor Bruce Porter, a man I prayed with at Ground Zero.
Ross: Bruce, it’s hard to believe. Five years. We look at the footage of what was then called “The Pile.” I described [it] then as being the fires of Hell -- the smoke, the fire, and body parts all around us. I spent many years of my life here. It is in my American city. It’s very hard even now to absorb it all.
Bruce Porter: As Americans we all suffered a collective hit. We all suffered in a special way.
Ross [reporting]: Seeing the steel beam cross still standing on the site, Bruce and I remembered watching God work in people’s lives.
Ross: We saw people come back, and there was this move toward God. Has that stuck?
Porter: Unfortunately it hasn’t. If 9/11 was a wake-up call for America, I think we collectively hit the snooze button.
Ross: There’s a fear that this could happen again. Do you believe it could?
Porter: It’s a certainty. It’s an inevitability. We have terror cells here in the United States. They’re coming in from our southwest border. They’ve stated their intentions.
Ross: Today what is the responsibility of Christians in America or any part of the world? What is the church’s job in this world we’re living in?
Porter: Our response as believers is to be of a ready mind and heart, to be servants and to help people in the time of need. I never saw a single police officer here or firefighter who refused to pray with me if I offered prayer.
Ross [reporting]: I told Bruce about a time I walked through Ground Zero wearing my clerical collar. I’m an ordained minister, but a police officer thought I was a Catholic priest.
Ross: He said, “Father, Father, you’ve got to pray for me.” I said, “Are some of your friends in there?” He said, “Yeah, I am so angry. I am so angry. I want to kill someone, but in a few days I have to have communion. I must take communion, but I can’t because I have murder in my heart.”
Ross [reporting]: As America continues to heal, Bruce says the key for Christians is seeing past death and destruction and looking toward eternity.
Porter: It’s not about our survival, ultimately, in this world. It’s about showing forth compassion and the love of Christ in crisis situations and making ourselves available for God to use us in times when people are looking for those answers and when they’re fearful.
Ross: On a very practical level, Bruce, you have more than a feeling, a need, for the church to become mobilized. In what ways specifically?
Porter: Well, crisis is an opportunity for Christians to step into the need people have for the gospel. I think unfortunately our country is going to be hit and hit very hard in the near future. I don’t mean to be a prophet of doom, but I see it as a great opportunity for the church. If we’re of a ready mind and of a ready heart, we can let our city sit on a hill and shine brightly for all the world to see.
Ross [reporting]: Five years after the attack, the rubble has long since been hauled away. Still, people come to Ground Zero to watch and to pray, to see the memorial wall or to take pictures of a somewhat emptier skyline.
Ross: Are you hopeful for the future?
Porter: Ultimately I am. On the short term I’m pretty pessimistic. I think the world is going to go from bad to worse. I don’t think we’re going to fix this world. But we have promises in the Bible that when Christ return, when Jesus comes back and establishes His kingdom in this world that the world will come under new management. I’m very optimistic about that because that is going to be awesome. No more sorrow. No more suffering. No more pain. All the former things will pass away, and He’ll dry every tear.
Ross: Including the tears that were shed here.
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