What does it mean to be a Resurrection person? Early in my seminary career, a professor asked this question. As happens at seminaries, the answers were wild and often convoluted as the students strived to show off their understanding of what it meant to live as Resurrection people. To be honest, I did not answer. Though I knew what it meant to me, I did not really have the words to describe to others, because at that time, my understanding of being a Resurrection person was a feeling, a knowledge that all would come out just fine.
For the past month and a half, we walked through the Lenten journey, looking at social justice issues and struggling with understanding how we are called to live with one foot in the world of trying to be a good citizen and the other in the world of a faithful Christian. Now that we are in the Easter season, we are confronted with another approach to social justice: the ethics of living as Resurrection people. For the next few weeks, I am going to explore with you what it means to be Easter people. Today, we are going to explore the ethical aspects.
Ethics, simply defined, is “the study of the human conduct, focusing particularly on attitudes and actions that are considered to be right or wrong.”  As Resurrection people, this is very interesting, because our ethics come with an understanding that life is not bound to a temporal plane. Thus, for us, ethical living is less about how we are living in the moment, and more about the longitudinal understanding of how we are living into our faith and facilitating that faith for other people.
A great example of this ethic is provided by the ethicist and theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer. Bonhoeffer was given an opportunity to make a choice. Though he was a strong pacifist, there came an opportunity for Bonhoeffer to get close enough to Hitler that he could put a bomb right next to him. This chance presented a struggle for Bonhoeffer, but in the end, the lives that he would potentially save if it worked weighed against the risk of trying to take out Hitler, so he chose to act. The choice presented an ethical dilemma many would have: protect yourself in the moment, or put yourself on the line, perhaps even lose your own life, to possibly save others.
As you know, the scheme did not work, and Bonhoeffer ended up in a Nazi concentration camp. While in prison, he often wrote, and we understand him and his situation and faith through his letters and papers from prison. In the midst of this terror, he reminds us that:
Christians must partake of earthly life to the very end, just as did Christ (O God, my God, why have you forsaken me?), and only by doing so is the Crucified and Resurrected with them and are they themselves crucified and resurrected with Christ. This life here and now may not be prematurely suspended.
It is this reality that underlies our ethic to live with one foot in the world we are in, but another in the world that is to come. It reminds me of the powerful hymn that begins, “My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus' blood and righteousness.” Our ethic is to work for the betterment of where we are, while at the same time preparing ourselves for the world that is to come. This is not an easy feat, but it is something that is crucial as we explore what it means to be Easter people.
 McKim, Donald. The Westminster Dictionary of Theological Terms. WJK: Louisville 2014
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Rev. Dr. Bryan James Franzen