Monday, April 25, 2011

Lest We Forget

Lest We Forget - An Anzac Day Meditation by Nick Booth

Today Australia paused to reflect, in gratitude and honour, the enormous sacrifice of so many brave young men in the battlefields of the world. The day is predominantly concentrated on the tragedy of the Gallipoli campaign (ANZacs - Australia and New Zealand army corps) and the slaughters of the Western Front in World War I (WWI). The Australians, consisting of a fully volunteered force, rushed at the opportunity to make their mark as a new country and to forge a national identity, proudly unique among the British Empire. They did distinguish themselves as they had planned, but by a ‘baptism of fire’. Over 50% of their servicemen were killed or wounded (leaving a devastating hole in that generation of Australian men). They were well known and feared by enemy armies and their British high command, for their reckless daring, disdain for British superior officers, valiant mateship, and sense of humour in times of unspeakable adversity.

Christians should be able to see clear Biblical and Gospel footprints all over Anzac day or Remembrance Day. The whole subject becomes infiltrated with the glory of Jesus Christ. For those who cannot differentiate between the value of a human life and a tree, and have trouble recognizing how we differ from our "distant monkey cousins", it is worth remembering that so far there has never been any battle or campaign that involves multiple continents or tribes of chimpanzee’s, trying to rid the world of a dictatorial, ruthless Nazi-chimp emperor and his evil band of storm trooping spider monkeys.

Please consider these points:

For human beings created in the image of God.

WWI highlights that there is a distinct moral code written into the heart of every human being created in the image of God that represents the character of their Creator.

Wars, injustice, and tragedy should immediately remind us of SIN and it’s horrific pervasiveness, and the incomprehensible love and action of the Savior in providing the means to escape its grip.

Wars remind us of the Biblical intentions of God to show His glory through the establishment of governments and authorities to establish and uphold JUSTICE. Governments may have abused this position, but clearly God’s justice is crystal clear in His instruction to minister justice in accordance with His character.

Despite how close the human race has come to obliterating itself in war, God’s grace is evident simply in the fact that we still manage to live through such enormous atrocities. The Christian has so much comfort in these times of devastating loss because of the promise of Jesus Christ:

And Jesus came and said to them, "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me" Matthew 28:18.

Wars should point us to the greatest atrocity ever committed - the slaughter of the Creator of the universe nailed to a wooden cross. We must remember that, as Martin Luther said, “we all carry in our pockets His very nails”. Men start wars, men fight them, men are responsible for inconceivable evils - both inside and outside of battle. If we start pointing our finger in atrocities, then we should be prepared to see it pointing straight back at us. Look carefully at the words of Jesus:

Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends (John 15:13).

I am often staggered at the response of Christian brethren who, while enjoying the luxury of being the beneficiaries of the freedom won with the blood of their ancestors, exercise that freedom to dismiss the chance of recognizing the sacrifice of people who lay down their lives for those they do not know.

Recognizing and remembering the valor of our brave soldiers, airmen, sailors, policemen, service volunteers etc.., is not an effort to compete with the memory of Christ - it’s meant to INVOKE the memory of the far greater sacrifice of Christ. It does not aim to achieve a glorification of war - it’s a chance to glorify Christ. These men were His instruments and, for many, it definitely was a “Purpose Driven Death”. Who can fathom how God spared so many nations in the outcomes of great wars.

Christians should be joining the crowds that line the streets surrounding cenotaphs and military monuments on these special days. Not to mock the commemorative practices of many, some of whom do not know Christ, but to see the value of human life and honor memories of those who shadow our Lord’s example. So today I will get up ridiculously early and stand side by side with many other Australians for the one day of the year that we reflect on the valor, tragedies, and memories of my countrymen in battle defending my freedom, and I’ll go even if I’m only standing there amongst people who do not know God.

It was an honor to stand there with you today Nick - Cameron


David Ford said...

I'm afraid that I'll never support the sacrifice of the precious lives that were lost in wars that Aussie's have fought. All these wars were started by the financial elites for one sole objective that they may profit and gain control of the issuance of money in conquered lands, and they have paid for this with the blood of our young men. Shame on our traitorous politicians (past and present) for duping and sending them and masquerading their sacrifice as something that was worth fighting for. Nothing has changed in 2011. Why are we in Afghanistan? Why did we take part in an unjust war in Iraq - so that we could have cheap gasoline while those who live on $2 a day were turned into collateral damage?. There was no moral or even military justification for these wars, nor for any that we fought in the past. Australia will be judged harshly by the living God for such arrogance. Cameron, I don't really expect you to publish this, but when is someone going to stand up and say what all the mothers of these soldiers have felt in their hearts for so many years but are not allowed to say, for I certify you that the greed and arrogance of this nation (and others such as the US and Britain) are certainly not worth fighting for.

Anonymous said...

Sorry you feel that way, but good on you for voicing your opinion. I am interested to see how you would defend your comment that "There was no moral or even military justification for these wars, nor for any that we fought in the past". Also you mentioned the "mothers of these soldiers", so I am wondering how your own mother might feel about losing her own son in combat and others mocking the sacrifice. There are countries wher men are conscripted and lose their life. Are you someone who would protest at their funeral? Finally, I think it's the height of arrogance to suggest that you know "what all the mothers of these soldiers have felt in their hearts for so many years but are not allowed to say".
One day you may need the defence of the brave men you mock.
Cheers, Nick

McMurdo said...

As usual, this is an excellent article and I am very grateful that Cameron has written it. The fact is that the freedoms we now have - even to exchange views like this - are bought at a heavy price. This will always be the case. When people stop wanting to defend our wonderful freedoms with their lives, that is when we will lose them. We in the UK owe a huge debt to previous generations in our own country as well as Americans, Canadians, Aussies, New Zealanders and huge numbers from the Indian Sub-Continent who took part in the Second World War. I wince when I hear people make off-hand, semi-racist remarks against some of our former allies, because without them we would have been mincemeat. Reading an account of the vile treatment the Germans meted out to Poland will give you an idea of what Hitler had planned for us.

One of the most decisive battles was in El Alamein in Egypt, led by the brilliant Field Marshall, Bernard Montgomery who was himself a committed Christian. This involved a large number from Australia and NZ.

I am not saying I know all the rights and wrongs of all the conflicts we are involved with. I only wish that more of the people who come to our churches were a fraction as courageous and ready to lay down their lives as many of our soldiers, most of whom are not Christians. There are thankfully still some godly people in our armed services. Either way, we should never take these people for granted.

Cameron Buettel said...

McMurdo, just so you know, the article was written by my patriot brother, Nick Booth. I think Nick wrote an outstanding Christ centered article and your comment is much appreciated.