It was a real privilege this morning to deliver the Bible reading and brief address at the Parramatta Anzac Day service. Here’s what I had to say:
Many different cultures explain the death of fallen servicemen and women in various ways.
For some it is the language is of honour.
For others it’s duty.
But in cultures like ours where there is a strong influence of Christianity we have another word:
Sacrifice; the giving of one life for the benefit of others.
Where do we get that from? Well from the words and the actions of the Lord Jesus Christ. On the night before He was killed Jesus spoke these famous words.
John 15:9-13 “As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. If you keep my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commands and remain in his love. I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete. My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.
Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.
They’re famous words that go some way to explaining why Jesus’ death is not seen as futile but, in fact, is a wonderful thing. Not that death is wonderful, or just a duty, or simply an honourable thing to do. But what Jesus’ sacrifice achieved was wonderful; forgiveness of sins. A restored relationship with the God who made us.
Today as we remember the great service of all those who have made the sacrifice of giving their lives, we also remember how Jesus’ death has changed the way we view their deaths.
We also see that we can call upon a loving heavenly father who himself knows the pain of the sacrifice of the One that he loves: Jesus himself.
So this Anzac day, as we pledge never to forget the lives of those who gave all that they had for our freedom, let’s give thanks for that other supreme sacrifice that brought the great freedom of forgiveness of sins and a new life with the one who made us. Will you pray with me?
Loving heavenly Father. We thank you for the Lord Jesus Christ who taught us that there is no greater love than to lay down our lives in the service of others. We thank you that he gave his life for us. And we thank you for those we remember today who gave their own lives in our service. Help us never to forget either.
in Jesus’ name,