This Thursday is ANZAC Day. 

If you’ve been at Windsor Road for a while, you may be familiar with the Honour Board on the wall in the prayer corner to the right of the pipe organ. It lists the names of the 58 men and one woman associated with our church who served in World War 1.  Of these, 11 young men were killed.  Over the past few years I have given a short presentation on some of these men killed in action.

ANZAC Day is a time to remember sacrifice.  Those who served and were killed in the defence of freedom and justice deserve to be remembered.  It is interesting to consider why we have this practice and belief.  I believe that, in Western Civilisation, this is because of the words and example of the Lord Jesus.

The well-known Bible passage where Jesus talks about His sacrifice for us is found in the Gospel of John.  It recounts the time immediately before His arrest and details some of His final words to His disciples – about who He is, where He is going, and words of comfort as well as instructions. 

Jesus’ words about love and sacrifice are mentioned in John 15 and verses 12-13:

12 My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. 13 Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.

The sacrifice of Jesus is still at the centre of the symbolism of ANZAC Day — with its crosses for the fallen, the sacrificial language, the reverence.

If you have a chance, take a closer look at the Honour Board sometime.  Thank God for those who have served and given their lives for freedom and justice.  Maybe offer a prayer for our fallen world, for righteousness and justice to prevail, wars to cease, grace to increase; for those who are serving in the Armed Forces today.  Pray that the LORD’s will be done on Earth, as in Heaven.