I’ve generally tended to think of ANZAC day as just another holiday to spend having a picnic and playing cricket with friends, but this year I’ve felt a strong urge, almost a conviction, that if we as a nation are going to take a day off for a particular purpose, that I ought to take that purpose seriously. Whatever the case, that was my rationale for attending this morning’s ANZAC service downtown. I was struck by several things.
First, I realised that those guns the soldiers were carrying and marching with were real guns. The same kind of guns that the original ANZACs carried as they charged courageously up the beach. The kind that shoot real bullets. The kind of bullets that literally rip right through skin and bones leaving blood, gore, and death in their wake. I don’t mean to be unnecessarily explicit, but these soldiers walked toward the beach that day, and continue to walk toward the beach today. Toward the guns. Toward death.
Second, it almost felt like church out there today. Actually, among the crowd of townspeople there were many faces from my church. In fact, just across the street was my pastor and his family. We sang Abide with Me and More Love to Thee, as well as the National Anthem. Indeed, what we were doing was honourable and right.
Finally, I realised that ANZAC day isn’t just about history. Australia is a nation at war. The question of whether or not to enter a war is political. But the question of whether or not to honour those who face the guns to protect us and our freedom is a spiritual matter for all believers. I’m thankful for those who have have given their lives so we could publicly sing “More Love to The, O Lord” and publicly pray in Jesus’ name. I’m thankful for those who are facing the guns in order to preserve and protect Australia.