Very often the words of Jesus (Jn 15:13) ‘No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.’ are used as part of the bible text at ANZAC Day commemorations as we remember the stories of ordinary young service men and women who have given their lives to insure the safety and security of our people and homeland. The reading is appropriate for all who give their lives and freedom in service for others.
They are following in the footsteps of the Good Shepherd who ’lays down his life for the sheep’.(Jn 10:11b) We are blessed by the gift of Jesus, our savior who lay down His life so that we might have freedom from eternal consequence of sin. Sadly, too often we forget the great victory already won for us.
The collect for ANZAC Day is a reminder that all things, all powers and all peoples are in the hands of God.
O God, our ruler and guide,
in whose hands are the destinies of this and every nation, we give you thanks for the freedoms we enjoy in this land and for those who laid down their lives to defend them: We pray that we and all the people of Australia, gratefully remembering their courage and their sacrifice, may have grace to live in a spirit of justice, of generosity, and of peace; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
Perhaps this prayer might remind us of the gifts we receive from our God, and that ultimate power rests (not in the hands of the leaders of the nations but) in the hands of our Creator.