Summary: A sermon that relates to ANZAC Day and how the actions of many soldiers was more about others...than themselves....a perspective of life that Jesus calls us to live...the sermon also discusses the importance of peace in the life of Christians
Living and dieing for others!!!
Yesterday was Anzac Day….
It is a very special, some would even say a sacred day in our national calendar.
It is a day that helps us understand a little more about what it means to be Australian and why our nation is like it is.
For those who don’t participate in the worship life of the Church, Anzac Day is certainly the day with the most reverent public rituals or liturgies.
At shrines, memorials and monuments in places across the country, people gather to remember and honour the fallen,
and to salute and express gratitude to those who survived and can still march.
But Anzac Day commemorations do not sit comfortably with every Christian.
Anzac Day is about remembering the fallen heros of war.
And this is like lemon juice to milk for a Christian for 2 reasons…
Our life and future as Christians should be mainly be understood from the point of view of what God has done, is doing and will do for us….
And secondly as Jesus followers and imitators, we are not followers of a violent Jesus.
But the one who defended injustices, welcomed others and calls us to pray for and love our enemies and even those who persecute us.
When his enemies came against him with military force,
he did not resort to reciprocal violence to defend himself or his cause.
Offering himself as the Prince of Peace, rather than as the Holy Warrior,
Jesus allowed the machinery of might and power to add him to its seemingly endless blood-stained list of sacrificial victims.
War was not an aim for Jesus.
However we also need to remember at times Jesus did get involved with conflict….
In Matthew 21:12-17, there is the story of Jesus confronting and overturning the tables of the money changers in the temple
And regular we see Jesus confronting the Pharisees about their approach to life, their misunderstanding of who God is and how they are treating others.
So where does that leave us in regards to ANZAC Day?
Can we participate in our honouring the fallen without being in conflict with the Gospel of Jesus?
Well like a lot things in life….we can but we should be aware of the good we can obtain from acknowledging ANZAC Day and the dangers if we allow ANZAC Day to be seen outside the context of being a Christian.
In other words we need to allow Jesus to lead us.
Saint Augustine, a saint who lived many years before any world war, made a very profound statement….the goal of participating in any war is peace!!!
Let that ring in your ears…..the goal of participating in any war is peace!!!
Now St Augustine here is referring to true peace….not surface level peace, where everything looks ok but underneath it is not….
And living and working towards true peace is something every Christian is called to work towards as disciples of Jesus….
As Hebrews 12:14-15 says Make every effort to live in peace with everyone and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord. See to it that no one falls short of the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many.
And Romans 12:18-19 says “If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,”
And 1 Timothy 2:1-4 says I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people—for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. This is good, and pleases God our Saviour, who wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth.
Peace is a goal that is important for us as Christians not just because it is a nice touchy feely thing…
But because it is one of God’s aims for his relationship with us.
And importantly it helps us be God’s missionaries in life….
Last week on the Shark Tank there was a good illustration of this….
the Shark Tank is a show on channel ten,
where new businesses seek potential investment and mentoring from some of Australia’s successful business people.
One gentleman who had a unique product…
Said at one stage during his presentation that when the world patent is approved which will be shortly….
he will go to court against his competitors…
Immediately one of the successful business people said….
they are out, they are not interested…
because the last place they want to be is fighting people in court
and another said “the last person they want to be in business with is someone who is wanting to fight others”…