Scanning the media reveals the many places Australians stand at Easter time. Some were proud of our heritage, others searched for how to satisfy the stomach, and others were ashamed of the church.
There was an editorial in the Australian Financial Review celebrating Australia’s Judeo Christian heritage. It read: “ Easter is one of Christianity’s gifts to this nation … If nothing else it’s an opportunity to catch up with family, take a break and thank God you aren’t a liberal democrat in China or a Christian living near IS territory.”
Satisfying the stomach
Plenty of articles promised the perfect Easter egg. Was it an ethical buy? Online or store acquired? Brand-name or budget? Bunny or bilby? GoodFood.com.au were not the only ones to appoint judges to find the best product. They wrote: “We all know the disappointment of biting into a bad egg.” Etcetera, etcetera.
An article about the Catholic Church by Kristina Keneally, was an honest yet sombre contribution. In the wake of the Royal Commission she and many Catholics feel unable to attend church. She wrote: ‘This Holy Week I won’t be at church. Don’t get me wrong. I’m no saint. I make no claim to sinlessness. I could use some of that forgiveness and redemption. But it is hard to take seriously a church that, in its very organisation, seems so sinful.”
It’s not hard to understand where she’s coming from.
One remaining question is: what place does the biblical Easter story have in a world like ours?
In his most respected book The Cross of Christ, British theologian John Stott says Easter deals with “the problem of forgiveness.” As the Apostle Paul says, “God made the One who did not know sin to be sin for us, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.” (2 Corinthians 5:21)
From the side of God and the side of man, Jesus deals with the forgiveness problem. It is in his cross alone that we find hope in a world like ours.
There are many places people stand when it comes to Easter. Some are light and trivial, others places of deep hurt and pain. But as we encounter the Easter story, we are reminded that Jesus assumed the greatest place of humility, and the greatest place of authority. True love and justice are found in him.
“Though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, 7 but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. 8 And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. 9 Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, 10 so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11 and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” (Phil 2:6-11)