By Quin Hillyer at the Washington Examiner; 

I recently re-watched the great movie Saving Private Ryan, and it struck me that Tom Hanks’ character’s dying lines are ones that Christians should also take to heart from Easter’s celebration (on this and every Easter weekend) – and which Americans ought to abide in our civic lives as well.

For those who somehow don’t know the movie: Its (fictional) story involves a small group of American soldiers immediately post-D-Day who are sent deep into Nazi-occupied France to find a paratrooper named Ryan, to send him home safely because his mother already had lost three other sons to combat deaths. In effect, Hanks’ squad is asked to risk (and, in most cases, lose) their lives so that Ryan might be saved.

With the climactic battle over and won, but Hanks mortally wounded, Hanks looks at Private Ryan and says, “Earn this. Earn it.” In other words: “Go live a good, constructive life so that our sacrifice for you won’t be in vain.”

In a very different context, but to much the same effect, that is the message St. Paul takes, and teaches, from Jesus’ crucifixion and the redemption it offers us. Paraphrased: “Through no virtue of your own, you have been saved by Christ’s sacrifice. Now, in gratitude, go live your life in way worthy of the salvation you already have received.”….

[later in the column]… Okay, now let’s set aside the crib-notes theology. The same thrust of the joint message of Good Friday and Easter should apply to our American civic lives. Through no merit of our own (except for those who were actively recruited to immigrate here due to particular skills of ours), we Americans have been born into and blessed with the greatest degree of freedom, natural bounty, and national wealth in the history of mankind….

[For the full column, click here.]


Tags: , ,