Acts 2:14a:22-32, 1 Peter 1:39, John 20:19-31
“There is a garden”
“Gallipoli has become a symbol of Australia’s national identity, achievement and existence,” according to Australian War Memorial principal historian Dr Peter Stanley.
He goes on to say “”In the event, the landing was a military disaster – it failed to meet its objectives. But merely hanging on in the face of determined Turkish attacks was triumph enough. Charles Bean, the Australian official correspondent, declared that with the landing on Gallipoli a sense of Australian nationhood was born. The idea took root.
Bean’s The Anzac Book defined what came to be called the Anzac legend. It encompassed bravery, ingenuity, endurance and the comradeship that Australians call mateship.
The Anzac legend has become elastic enough to span very different emotions. Fervent nationalists can exult; pilgrims can mourn. All can ponder what made that group of Australians able to endure one of the greatest tests their nation has ever faced.”
At the Anzac march on Friday, a speaker from the air force described Gallipoli for our country as a “Baptism of fire” and that though the fight was lost; it shaped and gave Australians an identity. Interestingly when writing this message my (15 year old.) son entered my office and read what I had before me on the P.C., which was only the whole nine first words I’ve already written, being “Gallipoli has become a symbol of Australia’s national identity”
and without discussion left the room singing in his finest ABBA voice one of their songs lyrics “Waterloo, sometimes I feel like I win when I lose.”
Gallipoli, a countries baptism of fire and that though the battle was lost at the time, has become a foundation that sporting teams and others called to our forces since have drawn on, and a presentation of our culture of “she’ll be right, mateship at any cost and the front bar wisdom of seeing what’s real and important from what’s not.
Our culture is not something that can be bought or sold-the freshness and fair go attitude of our country is a birthright born through those sent to a penal colony from the other side of the world, those who chose by free will to immigrate here, settlers in a harsh land of droughts and floods and those called back to the other side of the world to ensure our freedom remains.
It is not something we become, but somehow just are and something that we should hold dear to our hearts and inner being like Simon Peter writes and urges to his audience of converted listeners that now in faith, to not only remain steadfast in that faith, but to increase through all kinds of suffering and good works.
“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade–kept in heaven for you, who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time. In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that your faith–of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire–may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honour when Jesus Christ is revealed. Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the goal of your faith, the salvation of your souls.”
“Though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that your faith–of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire-may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honour when Jesus Christ is revealed.”
Life can be a baptism of fire, but baptised into Christ, though darkness may surround, we live in the sure hope of what awaits us and these lyrics penned and sang by Archie Roach and given to me by a friend brought the light of Christ amongst the darkness:
“When all the trees have gone, and all the rivers dry. Don’t despair when all the flowers have died. For I have heard that there’s a garden somewhere. When you hear the children cry, when you see them die and a mother can’t sing a lullaby. (Yet) I can still smell the blessed warm spring rain.
When everything is gone, and you’ve lost all hope and you have come to the end of your rope, well I believe that the flowers will bloom again. We are young, we are old (and what we have) can’t be bought or sold. And we are paying for our crimes, but every day in every way, we get better all the time.”
Using Aussie vernacular, an Australian soldier once said to me that “when the bullets start firing and you’re stuck in a trench, you’re not thinking of mother England, you’re fighting for the bloke next to you on your left, and the bloke next to you on the right”.
The author of the book of Acts Luke gives us that same awareness telling us “I saw the Lord always before me. Because he is at my right hand, I will not be shaken. Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices; my body also will live in hope, because you will not abandon me to the grave, nor will you let your Holy One see decay. You have made known to me the paths of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence.
” At the close of the Anzac day services three words are always said. Lest We Forget – three words renown across most countries to show our remembrance of those who have fought, and those who have died fighting for freedom.
Anzac day is a day of recognition, those three words Lest We Forget speak what this day is truly meant to symbolize, and that is that we will never forget our history.
Let us never forget our inheritance that we have been brought through Jesus Christ. Our inheritance bought at the cost of His life and though now we still live live temporary lives enduring many things. We do so knowing that in the battles, be we on our knees in fear or standing firm in faith, that He is on our left and our right travelling with us and carrying us in need that as He has gone before us and now sits at the right hand of God, for as He had paid for our crimes, so too will He take us home that we too will stand before Him with those who have gone before us: in a place where the flowers have bloomed again, all the rivers flow and again a mother can be heard singing a lullaby and see that in every way and on everyday that we will be with Him, as He is for us today. Amen.