For immediate release – 31 March 2015
At Easter, it is worth reminding ourselves of the positive role of faith, not only for our personal lives but also for the health and strength of our communities and our nation.
In the death and resurrection of Jesus, we find a model of loving our neighbour, servanthood and forgiveness that empowers our personal lives and community. The resurrection of Jesus shows that God is concerned about the whole person, as the grave could not contain him. It is essential that we continue to live out these values in our community, and remind our community of the strength of the Easter message. We as a nation do not need a godless society, but one based on the foundation and values of the risen Christ.
As we head into the long weekend, we risk the danger of missing the shocking central message of Easter: everything depends on the life, death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ, the humble carpenter’s son who is the Son of God.
The early church championed this radical message. Today we struggle to accept the need for rich words like “sin,” “evil” and “repentance,” but look how alcohol abuse and problem gambling destroys people, families and communities. At the heart of our broad social problems and ethical challenges is the question of personal responsibility and accountability to God.
Easter is the most significant celebration in the Christian calendar, a reminder of the depth of God’s love for us and the extent to which God was willing to go to demonstrate his love for us through the death and resurrection of Jesus, the Son of God.
Surveys consistently indicate that Easter is the most recognised Christian event and that over 50 per cent of Australians believe or are open to the message of the empty tomb. In this spirit, let us together confess our own personal and societal sins and look for personal and societal transformation.
Easter is a time for all of us to reflect on being who God has called us to be.
The Reverend Dr Ross Clifford AM is President of the NSW Council of Churches.