Although Anzac Day was a few days ago now, I’ve been thinking about it the last few days. Like most years, this year at Anzac Day I planned to go to the Dawn service, and unlike most years, last weekend I actually woke up in time and dragged myself out of bed to get there.
And why not? It’s a good thing, I feel, to remember those who died tragically in war. Many of those who died did so to protect Australia’s freedom. I’ve always considered that as a whole we Aussies take our freedom for granted. So it was interesting to see a pretty big turn out for the service.
And yet…I was quite struck by how our freedom was presented at the service. At one point a prayer was offered for the Australian people. In essence the prayer thanked God for the material blessings we have here in Australia, and asked God that we’d remember to enjoy those blessings. And that was pretty much it. I thought to myself ‘Is that all?’. The three B’s of bbq, beer and beach. The great Australian dream of owning your own house. That sort of thing. Is that as much as we can do with our freedom? But then, what greater use of our freedom is there for the average Aussie?
As Christians, we have something so much greater than our lifestyle that we can serve with our freedom – the gospel. The message of the one who sacrificed his very self to bring us freedom from something far worse than the rule of a foreign nation – freedom from God’s wrath, eternity spent forsaken by him. Aussies on the whole need prayer for much more than enjoyment of our free lifestyle – they need the blessing of turning to Christ and knowing true, eternal freedom with him. Is this our heart’s prayer for the people of our country, or does the joy of our hearts go no further than our lifestyle? And are we using the freedom we have in this country to serve that end and show our country that true freedom? What important questions to be asking of ourselves at any time, but especially as our ‘Got Questions’ series approaches! What an amazing opportunity that is!
I’ve stood in a land that doesn’t have the freedom we have in this country. A land where most people pass from birth to death without ever hearing the wonderful news of Jesus and the eternal freedom he won for us, because those who know this wonderful news face many obstacles and a lot of fear. Perhaps the real tragedy would be for us to take the opportunities we have for granted. Especially since we can’t assume we’ll have them forever. That’s certainly a challenge for me. How about you? Let’s not forget the freedom that Jesus brought us through his sacrifice, and let’s not forget the freedom we have in Australia to share this wonderful news with others. Let’s make the most of it.