ANZAC is a word that goes to the very heart of our culture. In a culture which is gradually distancing itself from its Judeo/Christian roots, a nation looks for places to worship where hearts unite around something that inspires. I still believe that the birth, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ are the most significant celebrations of worship for Australian life and inspiration, but ANZAC Day runs a pretty important second in the Aussie psyche.
When Christians worship, we worship in Spirit and in truth. The question for “ANZAC” must be whether its worshippers imbibe the spirit of ANZAC or rest in the glories of the past with little thought for how we live in the present.
Some time ago I heard a gentleman declare, “We live in the best country in the world”, to which another said, “And that is the problem with our country”. I was a little surprised by the response until he went on to say something to the effect that, “living in the best country in the world requires the best from lives in that country with a commitment to watching and keeping things great.”
If you were to take the temperature of our nation, how would you assess its health and its prospects for the future? Whether healthy or unhealthy I want to suggest that we are in a war. Staying healthy is a battle as is coming back from illness. The best country on the planet, no matter where it is, is at risk when people become apathetic and lazy. The health of our nation might not be as obvious as the wars that make the 25th April so important, but it is a war, as important as any, that requires us all to step up for national service.
In a year of elections a thoughtful approach to voting would be a good start. Consider the Marxism of the extreme left, known for shutting down debate, silencing history, pursuing progressive agendas un-thought of in previous generations and happily promoting themselves via violence. In their absence, fascism should remind us all that an extreme right would be just as bad and perhaps worse. Then there is the disdain of politicians for one another, the rise of elitism and identity politics and the inevitable atomisation of our society. To this we could add the demise of trust encapsulated in the growth industry of Royal Commissions and the deepening divides within our communities. The war is on.
Like those entertained by church but too preoccupied with life to worship Christ, is it possible that some will be entertained by ANZAC Day but too preoccupied to ever enlist in the battles required to preserve and grow our nation? Our defence force does an extraordinary job but their task is futile if not partnered and assisted by all the nation’s citizens. I love this country of Australia. Whether it’s the best is debatable. But I can tell you that the comforts of what we consider peace can become the sedatives that have a nation asleep at the wheel.
As a nation celebrates ANZAC Day we celebrate more than the lives of defence force personnel. We celebrate a spirit within that would lay down one’s life in the service of others. We don’t celebrate the elites or those using their identity like a uniform to gain favour. We don’t celebrate those who behave like victims to manipulate the system. We celebrate something inspired by Judeo/Christianity where love gives birth to servanthood, where a life is spent to give others more, and where death in the protection of others will be honoured.
Personally, I don’t know where our ANZAC celebrations would be if it were not for Jesus Christ who authored the best of the ANZAC spirit. And I don’t know where our nation will be if the Spirit of Christ is not found and the spirit of ANZAC is sedated by our comforts.