This coming Monday is Anzac Day (25th April). This date marks the anniversary of the first military action fought by Australia and New Zealand in World War 1 on the shores of Gallipoli. Although the military objectives were catastrophic, it was during this campaign that the “spirit of Anzac”—with its qualities of courage, mateship, and sacrifice—was born. And it is precisely these qualities which continue to have meaning and relevance for our sense of national identity. Indeed, Anzac Day is an opportunity for us to remember all Australians killed in military operations, and to remember those men and women who helped shape Australia into the nation it is today.
The word ‘citizen’ means; a native or naturalised member of a state or nation who owes allegiance to its government and is entitled to its protection. As a citizen of Australia I am thankful for all those who fought in war to secure the freedom we enjoy today. As a Christian I celebrate and thank God for Jesus Christ who has secured my citizenship in God’s kingdom. Ephesians 2:18-19: “For through him [Jesus] we both have access in one Spirit to the Father. So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God.”
In last week’s message Adam unpacked this verse, saying: “If we are in Christ, we are part of his church, which means, we are citizens of God’s kingdom. This means we equally have the blessings and privileges of being a citizen in God’s kingdom. We are members of God’s family, we all have a seat at God’s table and all enjoy His love.” (you can listen to the sermon ‘We Are Reconciled’ – Eph. 2:11-22 at www.bpcc.com.au).
Jesus’ sacrificial death on the cross in my place has ensured that I can now, by faith, become a citizen of God’s kingdom! Jesus served, so I could be free. I didn’t go to battle, Jesus did. I didn’t fight to have my sins forgiven, Jesus fought for me. I didn’t spill blood to atone for my wrongs, Jesus spilt his blood. A hymn often sung at Anzac services (Abide With Me) puts into words the victory we have in Christ: “I fear no foe, with Thee at hand to bless; Ills have no weight, and tears no bitterness; Where is death’s sting? Where, grave, thy victory? I triumph still, if Thou abide with me.”
Over the Anzac Day long weekend, I hope you have a chance to sit down with a cup of tea and perhaps an Anzac biscuit, and remember those who have fallen in battle to help shape and preserve the nation of Australia. More importantly, I hope you can take time to thank Jesus for the sacrifice He made to secure our eternal citizenship in God’s kingdom.
“To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb be blessing and honour and glory and might forever and ever” (Revelation 5:13b)