We are blessed to live in a time and place where war is something most of us only stop to seriously think about twice a year. 100 years ago that was not the case, when nearly ten per cent of Australia’s entire population enlisted to fight in World War I.
Today it is relatively easy for us to forget that our nation has technically been at war since 2001. Armed conflict is literally on the other side of the world and, despite the threat of nuclear war, the horror and violence that still grips millions around the globe seems unimaginable to our peaceful lives in the lucky country.
So why do we have a public holiday to remember the fallen? The nature and meaning of Anzac Day has changed but it undoubtedly still carries cultural weight. Our hearts should swell with gratitude at the sacrifices made by others for the freedoms we take for granted - just as they should break for those still living through war, terror and oppression. As Christians, we are called to be agents of peace in a world at war with its creator.
Anzac Day gives us the chance to reflect on how we can love and serve those in our world, and indeed our community, for whom war is still a horrible reality. It reminds us of some of the worst consequences of our sinful nature and our need for peace with God. And it encourages us to pray for the day God will shatter the bow and break the spear, bringing eternal peace.