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.
Love Changes Everything
What do we tell out children about the awful things that happen in this world? The reports about Sri Lanka flood our scenes with the people in that country fearful of a descent back into civil war. We don’t want them to learn from that. But when we look beyond the traumatic event, we can hear of other stories – people who chose to go back into the bombed places to aid others, the people of every religion that gave blood to help the victims. They are the people who chose to respond with love in the face of hatred. We have to take extra effort to find those stories but they are there.
Those who respond with love in the face of hatred are the people of the Resurrection. No matter how much pain and rejection Jesus had thrown at him, he responded with love. So how do we teach this to our children? By responding with love and goodness when we are neglected, used, and even abused. No, Jesus did not lie down and take it. He came back transformed. Children can so easily press out negative buttons and it often takes real grace and the wisdom of God to respond positively.
How we celebrate Anzac Day is another example of how Love can change everything. On the surface, the day could be seen as a celebration of war but listen to where the majority of people choose to look. Not at the ‘glory’ of war but at the courage, sacrifice and care that was shown by so many of those who served. We look to these that we might be inspired to do the same in our own lives.
Loving Father, let me know how to show my children how to be positive and creative in negative situations. May they learn how to draw on the loving strength of Jesus to respond to all with love. I ask this in his name, confident that you will hear me.
Sr Kym Harris osb