By Rod Benson
“We are at a moral crossroad; it’s time to demonstrate the true meaning of Easter,” the flyer declared, advertising a national event. The flyer failed to explain which moral crossroad the sponsor had in mind, but it got me thinking: What has Easter to do with ethics?
The Easter story is the foundational story of Christianity. As we accept what God did for us in Christ, and identify with Jesus in his death and resurrection, God grants us a new life of freedom, assurance and hope. This new life is profoundly shaped by our obedience to Jesus. But what does such a life look like?
New Testament scholar N.T. Wright puts it best:
Jesus … calls us to share in his work of drawing out and dealing with the evil of the world; by loving our neighbours, both immediate and far-off, with the strong love that sent him to the cross; and by working out the implications of that love in our own vocations, whatever they may be, in our social and political action, in our relationships (and particularly our marriages and families), and in our caring for those in our midst who need the healing and restoring love of God most deeply. We are called, as the people who claim the crucified Jesus as our Lord, to seek out the pain of the world, and, in prayer, in patient hard work, in listening, in healing, in announcing the Kingdom of this Jesus by every means possible, to take that pain into ourselves and give it over to Jesus himself, so that the world may be healed … With the cross as the underlying story of our lives, validated by the resurrection and then implemented by the fire of the Holy Spirit, we can have the confidence to take on the world with the sovereign love of God.
Rev Rod Benson is Director of the Centre for Christian Ethics at Morling College, Sydney.