Thought For The Week 25 April 2012
With Sunday falling on ANZAC day this year it is appropriate that we reflect on this national day of commemoration and remembrance of our involvement in the global conflicts of the past and present. I think ANZAC day does 3 things for us:
- It connects us to our ancestors. Our Western culture, with its emphasis on the individual, is often disconnected from those who came before us. By contrast, many other cultures venerate their ancestors and have a strong sense of identity through them. This is changing in western culture- witness the rise in interest of exploring genealogies and family histories. And many now parade proudly wearing the medals of parents and grand-parents.
- It reminds us of the horrors of war. It is an uncomfortable truth that our Christian faith was co-opted in the cause of nationalism which fuelled the industrial scale slaughter of young men that was the 2 world wars. We cannot deny the utter waste and misery caused by war and the justification made for war are often very questionable.
- ANZAC day should strengthen our resolve to promote freedom and justice in the world. This is the vocation of the Church who follows Jesus’ mission to bring the kingdom of God and reconcile all things to himself. At ANZAC services we are fond of quoting Jesus’ words “greater love has no man than this; that he lay down his life for his friends” and we apply this to those service men and women who have made the ultimate sacrifice for their country. Less often quoted are his injunctions to turn the other cheek, love our enemies and forgive those who abuse us.
So, in our service today we honour those who answered the call of their day to defend the sovereignty of their nations and their freedoms. We speak the truth about war holding no place for its glorification and we remember our call to be peacemakers in the world.