Lest we forget
The Revd Sonja Nugent | ADF Chaplain
On 25 April we pause, as a country, to remember the sacrifice of the men and women of our Defence Force. We acknowledge the original association of this day with the landing of the ANZAC soldiers at Gallipoli in 1915, but this date has become a corporate opportunity for us to honour all those who have served, and those who are serving at present.
Women and men of Australia have committed their lives over and again to not only defend Australia and our allies in times of war, but have served in close to 100 peace-keeping missions around the world. Recently we have witnessed the deployment of over 6,000 Defence personnel within Australia to Operation Flood Assist 2022.
There are many motivations that can lead an individual to swear their service to Queen and Country. To be seen as a hero, a sense of adventure, an expression of mateship, or a guaranteed income. These and many other reasons have led Australians to sacrifice years and lives in our Defence Force. Above all these motives though, are our deep ideals of defending the innocent, and of laying down our lives in the protection of others.
On ANZAC Day we are often reminded of the words spoken by Jesus in John 15:13
‘No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends’.
As Christians we believe that in doing so, Jesus restored our relationship with God, saving us from sin and death. The celebration of Jesus’s example of self-sacrifice was at odds with the world of the early Christians, but has since become imbedded in our culture through our Christian heritage. The words and example of Jesus laid the foundation for the fundamental beliefs of the Australian nation, that thousands of Australians continue to volunteer themselves to defend. It requires a persistent muster of courage and compassion for an individual to choose to be apart from their family, to commit to unlimited availability and liability, and to follow the direction of their superiors even unto death.
On 25 April we remember over 8,000 men who died at Gallipoli, but we also remember the more than 100,000 Australian lives lost as a result of their service to the nation in the Australian Defence Force. We remember all those who have served, the over 100,000 full-time and reservists serving now, and particularly all those presently deployed both within Australia and overseas.
Let us pray for their safety, strength, and resilience. May God protect, guide, and sustain them in their duty of continual sacrifice