We may never think of ANZAC Day in the same way again. This year the elevated terror threat means that instead of almost 90 services in Auckland, only 26 will be held this year, and only 10 of those will be dawn services. Instead of reflecting on the darkness of the Australian and New Zealand army corps landing at Gallipoli in 1915, our hearts will be drawn to the tragedy of only a few weeks ago in Christchurch. How will you remember these events which shape us so dramatically as a nation?
Two years ago a church in Auckland had a message not just of the remembrance of tragedy, but of the hope that cuts through it, as they gathered for an ANZAC weekend service. Dave Jensen, a former Australian Army Captain shared his story before preaching from Romans 5.
‘…from the outside, everything I had ever wanted to achieve I had done. I can’t explain it, brother, except as the work of God, that I woke up one morning hungover, and went to my barracks mirror and looked at myself and I said to myself “Is this it… is this it? I was empty.’
Dave’s chaplain helped him to see what Jesus had done – that Jesus hadn’t died for perfect and righteous people, he had died for scumbags like him. Jesus offers a new identity – sons and daughters of God. Forgiven. You can watch the full interview here:
Dave asked us to think of the number 30,000 – the number of young men and women who have left our beautiful country to fight, and have fallen, sacrificing themselves. So many have given their lives for the greater good – for peace. This is, of course, why we remember and celebrate their sacrifice.
Dave goes on to show from Romans 5 that Jesus has sacrificed himself for us. He has substituted himself for us. Unlike the ANZAC sacrifice, where good people sacrificed themselves for good people, on the cross, the only perfect person sacrificed himself for his enemies. You can see the whole sermon below.
At the end of the service, replica WWI John’s Gospels were handed out to anyone who wanted to explore more of who this Jesus is for themselves or with a friend. How could you use these wonderful Gospels to share God’s life words this ANZAC day?
Order yours here.