Southland Christian Ministry Training

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Anzac Day, What Does It Mean To You?

As we look towards ANZAC Day I was challenged to consider what it means to me. Like many Australians, I share in a rich heritage of military involvement with my father serving in the RAAF during WW2 and several members of the preceding generation being deployed (and one killed) during WW1. ANZAC Day for me is a time set aside to remember the past, to pause and reconsider how that has affected me in the present and respond, allowing time to visualise how I can hand this tradition on to the next generation without distorting it or watering it down.

1 REMEMBER! Maybe the problem is working out what to remember. Many people think that it would be better to forget these sad events in our past – but it was these conflicts that made us the nation that we are. The reality is that the spirit of ANZAC does not focus on the heroes but the ordinary bloke – everybody gets a guernsey! We are to remember not just the pain and suffering but also the good things – the bravery, the heroism, the sacrificial giving. But we are not to stop there, we must also

2 RECONSIDER! What does it mean to us? Today we are deployed in another war zone, in a very different world. The tools of war might have changed but it still brings the same things; pain, suffering and death. Why are we here? To give a mate a hand, to offer peace and security, to do what we can to bring justice and hope, things which we all too often take for granted in Australia. Sadly peace and freedom always has a price, and if ANZAC Day teaches us anything we must reconsider if we are prepared to pay that price. However, we must do more than just reconsider, we must actually

3 RESPOND! What are we going to do about it? If we are to truly respond we must accept the leading of the ANZAC’s to move forward courageously seeking to bring meaning and purpose, to make this world a better place. The trouble is there can be no real peace till we accept God’s answer to the problems of the world. The answer is not merely physical (getting rid of corrupt governments and systems), or mental (adopting new ideologies or political approaches) or spiritual (adopting a new religious system) but a combination of all three!

Well, that is what ANZAC Day means to me, and that is why I’m here! What about you? Sadly all too often we lose the balanceĀ  between the past, the present and the future perspectives, and easier to address physical issues than the mental and spiritual ones!

Keep pondering

Chaplain Ian S Whitley