25th of April: Anzac Day, “Lest we forget”

Today is a significant day for Australia and New Zealand. Anzac Day is named after the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps, who served in the Gallipoli Campaign in the First World War (1914-1918). The bravery, dedication, mateship, and fortitude—in the face of the adversity of those who served on the Gallipoli Peninsula shaped the national identity of Australia.

 

Anzac day is a solemn day of national remembrance of those Australian and New Zealand Army Corps soldiers who sacrificially fought and died for their country, and others who have served in wars, conflicts and peacekeeping operations.

 

Lest we forget. Let us also take this day to remember the overwhelming, never-ending selfless love of God. Christ sacrificed himself on our behalf, though we don’t deserve it, paying the infinite and eternal penalty only he could pay (2 Corinthians 5:21). Because of his love for us, Jesus laid down his life, paying the penalty for our sins. (1 John 2:2) Jesus died in our place, for our transgressions, and he was raised again, he is alive today, and we can have a growing and living relationship with him. (1 John 1:12)

 

 

We need to decide what kind of Christian life we want to live and what we are willing to do to get it. There’s a kind of Christianity that basically says, “We have joined the religious club”. The focus of this kind of Christianity is just to tick the items in the list of rules, rituals, rites, or good works; it doesn’t demand too much of us because it doesn’t impinge profoundly on our inner life. It’s ‘Comfortable Christianity’—we want God to be involved in our lives, we want him to be committed to us, but we don’t want to go too far in our commitment to him.

 

But there’s another kind of Christianity that we can choose. It’s the “all-in” kind of Christianity. The kind that we see men and women of God in Scripture, living, the kind that we see some people we know living as well. This kind of Christian has come to a fork in the road in their lives—a time in their Christian life when they encountered God very deeply and sensed that God was saying to them, “I did not die for you so you could continue to live for yourself, just adding some Christian benefits to your life.”

 

No, as the apostle Paul puts it, “For to this end, Christ died and lived again that he might be Lord, both of the dead and of the living.” God doesn’t want to be a comfortable addition to your life. He wants to turn your life upside down! This is the reality of the Christian life God wants for you.

 

Those ANZAC soldiers were reflecting the way God loves. God wants you to respond to his love by loving him back in the same all-in way that he has loved you.

 

There’s a song by Hillsong that beautifully expresses this:

 

Heal my heart and make it clean

Open up my eyes to the things unseen

Show me how to love

Like you have loved me

Break my heart for what break yours

Everything I am

For your kingdom’s cause

As I walk from earth into eternity”

 

Lest we forget…

 

 

 

ANZAC Day: “Lest we forget..”

Today is ANZAC day in Australia. It’s the day we set aside to honour the Australian war veterans and acknowledge their contribution to Australia, but it’s also so much more than that. It’s a day where Australians celebrate their identity as Australian citizens—what it means to be a part of the country. The ideas of mateship, sacrifice, courage and everything that the ANZAC soldiers have stood for. In many ways it’s a more important day to Australians than Australia Day (our national holiday) because it was on April 25th 1915 that many people believe Australia really found its identity as a nation rather than looking to England for that identity.

On this day where we think about our citizenship here on earth, it’s a good reminder that we also have a citizenship in heaven. As Paul says in Phil 3:20, “But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ.

What does this heavenly citizenship mean? When you accepted Jesus as your Lord, you no longer find your identity only in your culture, but even more so in Jesus. So, in the same way that our Australian citizenship is reflected in the values we have and the way we live, our heavenly citizenship and identity should be reflected in the values we have and the way we live for the Lord.

What does that look like? Well, Jesus is the perfect example for us to follow. He is the example that God sent to show us how to live our lives—the way he related to others and therefore the way he wants us to relate to others, the way he modelled how he wants us to treat others, the way he was all about his Father and his Father’s agenda in every situation rather than his own agenda, and how that should show up in our lives too.

Think about how he used every encounter he had to draw people closer to his Father. How he was constantly in prayer asking the Father to use him in the lives of people around him. How he constantly spent time with those who needed God, not just with those who already knew God.

Jesus was ALL about his Father’s agenda here on earth. Everything he did and every encounter he had with people he had that uppermost in his mind. Can you say the same? As you go about your daily life, are you ALL about God’s agenda?

What do we mean when we say this?

As you interact with people—whether it be one of your friends at a BBQ, or your neighbour as you mow the lawn, or even at the checkout at your local grocery store—be aware that God has a plan for that person. He has put you into that person’s life right at that moment for a reason. You are part of God’s plan to draw that person closer to him. It may be just to give them a smile and say thank you, but it may be to start a conversation that will lead to them joining God’s family.

So today on ANZAC day, remember that we are no longer just citizens of our countries, but as Paul says, “…our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ.