Today, Anzac Day, we acknowledge the bravery of those who faced the enemy in defence of those they cared for. We acknowledge the sacrifice made by those who lost their lives in the armed services of Australia. Using not the image of the Aussie Digger but rather the image of a Palestinian shepherd, we, today, also acknowledge the courage of a man who laid down his life for those that he cared for. As Anzac Day has very personal associations for those who remember family members, friends and mates who died in the hostilities, the bravery and sacrifice of Jesus links his brothers and sisters even today in an intimate and personal way with himself. As he said, “I know my own and my own know me.”
Not at the behest of governments, but in obedience to the One who is God and Parent of us all, Jesus faced the enemy, the wild animal, the power that is opposed to all that is good, true and beautiful in the world. He faced it, not with sword and chariot, but with his great self-giving love, and he calls us to defeat the Evil One, not by physical force, but by the sheer weight of genuine, caring love – love to God and to neighbour. To this end we have been equipped with the Holy Spirit, the power that empowered him, the indwelling of the risen Christ himself.
While we affirm, “We will remember them,” let’s also do as he said, “Do this in memory of me.” Let us be challenged by our own memories to live today the way of brave, sacrificial love.
- In what way is the bravery and sacrifice commemorated on Anzac Day like Christ’s own bravery and sacrifice commemorated in the Lord’s Supper?
- What do you think Jesus meant when he said, “I have other sheep that do not belong to this fold. I must bring them also, and they will listen to my voice, So there will be one flock, one shepherd”?
- To what extent are bravery and sacrifice distinguishing marks of your Christian life?
- What adjectives, apart from good, can be fittingly applied to Jesus as the Shepherd?