When the first Anzacs floated into Gallipoli cove before dawn, they had no idea what they had let themselves in for. When they signed up months before, they probably thought this soldiering would be a good lark. The early photos and stories of their time training in Egypt bear that out. But landing at Gallipoli shattered their illusions. Horror and death and pain burst upon them. In the long months ahead they forged a type of service that has become, not only the best spirit of our armed services but also, a witness of service to the wider community.
The Anzacs survived Gallipoli and the trenches of Europe not on a ‘might warrior’ myth but by their commitment to each other and the belief they were working for a greater cause. To this day, Anzacs who receive medals for bravery always say two things: ‘My mates deserved this as much as I did,’ and ‘I was only doing my duty’. Also, to this day their former foes, the Turks hold those soldiers in esteem. In the midst of battle they recognised the spirit and goodness of their hearts.
Service is also an integral part of our nature as Christians. Often it is the most challenging part of our lives. Rarely do we serve in brutal situations but even mundane situations can call for courage. Only by supporting each other and trusting in the help of God will we persevere in strength and goodness.
Loving God, you sent you Son to live among us, to serve us. Send us his Spirit that we too may follow his example of love and service. We ask this in his name, confident that you will hear us.
Sr Kym Harris osb.