Anzac Day - A Message from the Moderator

Posted in News

On Sunday April 25th we will be recognising Anzac Day. This is the 106th anniversary of the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps, along with soldiers of many other nations, landing on the Gallipoli Peninsula, near the beginning of the First World War which was expected to be the war to end all wars. Since then, there have been over 100,000 deaths and more than 200,000 wounded in 29 conflicts in which Australia has taken part.

Anzac Day is more than just a national holiday, it is a fundamental Australian tradition. This is not merely a date of some remote campaign, this is a celebration of the spirit of Australia. This is a celebration of the spirit of courage, of discipline, of mateship and solidarity, of resourcefulness and resilience; the spirit where we know that we stick together in adversity, and support each other; the spirit that goes the extra mile to make sure that things are okay.

Australians recognise the date as an occasion of national remembrance, which can take many forms. This year many events have restricted numbers, and like last year, we are encouraged to stand in our driveways at dawn to remember. In these and other ways, Anzac Day is a time when Australians reflect on the many different meanings of war.

On Anzac Day, along with Remembrance Day, we especially remember those Australian men and women who died or suffered in the great tragedy of war. Each year we pay homage not only to those original Anzacs, but to all who have died or been disabled in their service to this country. They enrich our nation’s history. Their hope was for the freedom of us all and we remember with pride their courage, their compassion and their comradeship. They have served and continue to serve on land and sea and in the air, in many places throughout the world.

Not only do we honour the memory of those Australians who have fallen in battle; we share the sorrow of those who have mourned them and of all who have been the victims of armed conflict. We remember with sympathy those Australians who have suffered as prisoners of war, and those whose lives have been dramatically impacted because of war.

We also remember those who stayed at home, and who still stay at home, and admire their strength and endurance as they support their loved ones in situations of potential danger.

On Anzac Day we realise that we are not just thinking of those who fought in times gone by. We remember that we are still involved as a nation in peacekeeping efforts and that there are defence personnel serving in at least 16 locations overseas at this time, in the Middle East, the Pacific and Asia. We remember their duty, their courage, their teamwork and their determination, their initiative and resourcefulness.

We are reminded that remembering does not glorify war. In remembering we can hope that those times are not repeated. In remembering we can stand in solidarity with those who suffer in situations of violence and injustice. In remembering we can pray for God’s peace and reconciliation for the whole world. We recall that the Lord is our shepherd, and is with us, guiding us in difficult times of turmoil and war as well as in times of abundance and tranquility. In remembering we join with our brothers and sisters around the world to stand up for what we know to be right, for justice and fairness for all, for peace and compassion to reign.

On Anzac Day we pay our respect and say thank you, to God, for the freedom that we enjoy today. We reflect on the notion of sacrifice, the ultimate example of which we have in Christ, and to pray for peace in our world. In commemorating Anzac Day in the church, we do not seek to glorify war, but to give thanks for those who have laid down their lives for us, and to come alongside and pray for those who bear the costs of war, physically, emotionally and spiritually.

Prayer: Loving God, we pause to remember those who sailed from this country many years ago, and all who have served down the years in time of war. We remember the many Australian service personnel who have given their lives in many theatres of war, resisting evil, defending our country and standing with others to protect freedom in the world. We pause in our lives to honour them today. We pray for widows and orphans and those who carry the scars of war in their minds and bodies. May we a as a nation always be generous in caring for them and providing for their needs. May we be challenged by this costly sacrifice, to be a little less inwardly focused, and dedicate ourselves afresh to work for peace in our world, our country and our relationships with others. This we pray in Jesus’ name, who also gave his life for others. Amen.


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