Friday, April 25, 2014

ANZAC Day Address 2014

When the sun sets on the battlefield the shadow of darkness extends far beyond those in the midst of combat. In dawn’s light the price of conflict is often revealed: Bodies wounded, minds broken, hearts anguished, lives forfeited. Relationships spanning a few strides of beach or many miles of ocean are ended. The toll is not measured by counting fatalities. The impact not assessed by tallying resources lost. Wounds leave scars. Scars endure.

But scars are not without purpose. They are solemn reminders. They command respect. Some scars are the trophies of sacrifice. All sacrifice is given meaning by the divine sacrifice of the Son of God for the frailty of all humanity. He bears those scars which point to the end of all wars. His life embodies the true essence of a love that gives freedom. “Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.” John 15:13

Freedom is never free. Nations are not entitled to it. Its preservation depends on judicious use of power. Corruption of power lies at the heart of human arrogance. Its appeal is a penetrating temptation. Its abuse is a constant danger. The strongest are not those who oppress, but those who protect; not those who rule to enact their own agendas but to serve others. Only when exercised in humility can the use of power reflect God’s intention. Christ “did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life as a ransom for many.” Matthew 20:28

Freedom cannot be measured by levels of affluence, happiness surveys, or patriotic sentiment alone. Freedom’s truest measure is the opportunity for the most vulnerable in society to enjoy the stability of the privileged. It creates an environment of promise and potential. It is a haven for hope. We take it for granted at our own peril. It is a precious inheritance.

The fruits of the sacrifice the ANZACS rendered cannot survive through sentimental reflection. The spirit of duty and selflessness, honour, and conviction must be embodied in specific actions and particular commitments. The desires of the individual cannot be elevated above the well-being of the community. Together we stand, divided we fall. How will we embrace their heritage? It’s not merely a question for government. It’s not just a question for veterans. It’s not only a question for civic organisations. It’s a question for you and for me. It’s a question for all.

Democracy can never be maintained by proxy. Attending to its vitality cannot be delegated to a select few. Perhaps only a few debate and enact its laws. Perhaps only a few publicly discipline those who abuse it. Perhaps only a few make the ultimate sacrifice for it. But all must cherish it. All must defend it. All must believe in its virtues, its values, its ventures.

Today we remember the sacrifice of others. Their efforts galvanized the consciousness of two nations. Let us carry their scars seeking from the Almighty God the wisdom to emulate true virtue. Our inevitable failures are covered by Christ for He is “the atoning sacrifice for our sins.” 1 John 2:2
Let us pursue peace even in the midst of life’s instabilities until that last day dawns when all conflict has ceased. Pastor Darrin Kohrt Concordia & Outlying Lutheran Churches, Loxton

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