In the lead-up to ANZAC Day yesterday, LCANZ Bishop Paul Smith encouraged members of the church to ‘remember and give thanks for the courage and sacrifice of those who served’, as well as to pray for ‘an end to war so that justice would flow for the peoples of the earth’.
‘Our ANZAC tradition is something that binds Australia and New Zealand deeply, with our common memory of shared suffering, beginning on the shores of Gallipoli’, Bishop Paul said in an eNews to LCANZ members last Thursday. ‘On both sides of the Tasman Sea, we hold a public holiday to enable all our people to gather together, to pause and to give thanks for the women and men of our armed forces who put their lives at risk to promote the cause of justice and peace.’
Recounting the service of Canon David Garland, an Australian Anglican priest who served as a senior army camp chaplain before World War I and then in the Middle East from 1918 to 1919, as well as campaigning for the establishment of war memorials and remembrance ceremonies, Bishop Paul said: ‘Garland had seen the suffering of soldiers and civilians. He had pastorally listened to the burdens of those returning from battle. He sought to guide the people “back home” into ceremonies to remember, to give thanks to God and to pause with the purpose of working together for peace …
‘Today, we experience wars in very public arenas like the Ukraine or in often unnoticed places like Tigray (Ethiopia), Somalia or Kenya. In our commemorations, we are careful not to glorify war. Rather we turn our faces towards the Prince of Peace-making, our Lord Jesus Christ.
‘Looking to him, we then remember and give thanks for the courage and sacrifice of those who served. We remember lives tragically cut short. We lament over the destruction and suffering caused by war. We ask the Lord, who was born amidst the song of angels proclaiming “peace on earth”, to bring an end to war so that justice would flow for the peoples of the earth.
‘Lest we forget.’
Read Bishop Paul’s full ANZAC Day message here.