Lest We Forget - An Anzac Day Meditation by Nick Booth
Today Australia paused to reflect, in gratitude and honour, the enormous sacrifice of so many brave young men in the battlefields of the world. The day is predominantly concentrated on the tragedy of the Gallipoli campaign (ANZacs - Australia and New Zealand army corps) and the slaughters of the Western Front in World War I (WWI). The Australians, consisting of a fully volunteered force, rushed at the opportunity to make their mark as a new country and to forge a national identity, proudly unique among the British Empire. They did distinguish themselves as they had planned, but by a ‘baptism of fire’. Over 50% of their servicemen were killed or wounded (leaving a devastating hole in that generation of Australian men). They were well known and feared by enemy armies and their British high command, for their reckless daring, disdain for British superior officers, valiant mateship, and sense of humour in times of unspeakable adversity.
Christians should be able to see clear Biblical and Gospel footprints all over Anzac day or Remembrance Day. The whole subject becomes infiltrated with the glory of Jesus Christ. For those who cannot differentiate between the value of a human life and a tree, and have trouble recognizing how we differ from our "distant monkey cousins", it is worth remembering that so far there has never been any battle or campaign that involves multiple continents or tribes of chimpanzee’s, trying to rid the world of a dictatorial, ruthless Nazi-chimp emperor and his evil band of storm trooping spider monkeys.
Please consider these points:
1. PRAISE GOD THE CREATOR For human beings created in the image of God.
2. PRAISE GOD FOR HIS MORAL CHARACTER AND HIS GREAT COMPASSION IN IMPLANTING IT WITHIN US WWI highlights that there is a distinct moral code written into the heart of every human being created in the image of God that represents the character of their Creator.
3. PRAISE GOD FOR THE GOSPEL’S POWER TO DESTROY SIN Wars, injustice, and tragedy should immediately remind us of SIN and it’s horrific pervasiveness, and the incomprehensible love and action of the Savior in providing the means to escape its grip.
4. PRAISE GOD FOR HIS JUSTICE Wars remind us of the Biblical intentions of God to show His glory through the establishment of governments and authorities to establish and uphold JUSTICE. Governments may have abused this position, but clearly God’s justice is crystal clear in His instruction to minister justice in accordance with His character.
5. PRAISE GOD FOR HIS SUPREMACY Despite how close the human race has come to obliterating itself in war, God’s grace is evident simply in the fact that we still manage to live through such enormous atrocities. The Christian has so much comfort in these times of devastating loss because of the promise of Jesus Christ:
And Jesus came and said to them, "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me" Matthew 28:18.
6. PRAISE JESUS CHRIST FOR HIS CROSS Wars should point us to the greatest atrocity ever committed - the slaughter of the Creator of the universe nailed to a wooden cross. We must remember that, as Martin Luther said, “we all carry in our pockets His very nails”. Men start wars, men fight them, men are responsible for inconceivable evils - both inside and outside of battle. If we start pointing our finger in atrocities, then we should be prepared to see it pointing straight back at us. Look carefully at the words of Jesus:
Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends (John 15:13).
I am often staggered at the response of Christian brethren who, while enjoying the luxury of being the beneficiaries of the freedom won with the blood of their ancestors, exercise that freedom to dismiss the chance of recognizing the sacrifice of people who lay down their lives for those they do not know.
Recognizing and remembering the valor of our brave soldiers, airmen, sailors, policemen, service volunteers etc.., is not an effort to compete with the memory of Christ - it’s meant to INVOKE the memory of the far greater sacrifice of Christ. It does not aim to achieve a glorification of war - it’s a chance to glorify Christ. These men were His instruments and, for many, it definitely was a “Purpose Driven Death”. Who can fathom how God spared so many nations in the outcomes of great wars.
Christians should be joining the crowds that line the streets surrounding cenotaphs and military monuments on these special days. Not to mock the commemorative practices of many, some of whom do not know Christ, but to see the value of human life and honor memories of those who shadow our Lord’s example. So today I will get up ridiculously early and stand side by side with many other Australians for the one day of the year that we reflect on the valor, tragedies, and memories of my countrymen in battle defending my freedom, and I’ll go even if I’m only standing there amongst people who do not know God.
It was an honor to stand there with you today Nick - Cameron