Friday, March 6, 2015



ANZAC (Australian and New Zealand Army Corps) originally referred to those who had served on Gallipoli in WWI. However, the acronym has been seeping into the Australian psyche since 25 April 1915, so much so that now, one hundred years later, the mere mention of the word commands Aussie pride to stand to attention! Thus the word has been spiritualised. The ANZAC spirit is that which animates the body of Australia. It is the breath in her lungs, the hot wind on her sunburnt back, driving her towards a bright future. Through drought or flood, bushfire or cyclone that invisible spirit – first noticed at ANZAC Cove, Gallipoli – manifests itself in Aussies through their care and compassion for the casualties of life’s battles.

The ANZAC spirit is epitomised by Simpson with his donkey carrying a wounded soldier to safety. Its presence is felt as a lump in our throat each 25th April. It is a spirit of tearful thankfulness, of appreciative camaraderie, of brotherly oneness! The ANZAC spirit is the glue which holds Australia together. It is the stumps upon which her house rests. It is the cool breeze that comes through her open windows.

Whence comes this ANZAC spirit? It is an outward expression of an inner compulsion. It comes from Australia having been a Christianised nation. Thus the ANZAC spirit comes from the teachings of the Bible as exemplified by Jesus. It is the sum of the second table of the Ten Commandments, ‘You shall love your neighbour as yourself.’ Mark 12:31. How does one love ones neighbour as oneself? ANZAC Cove, Gallipoli gives a pretty good example! They were in it together. It wasn’t ‘every man for himself!’ It was mateship during hardship.

National conflict and turmoil is the crucible in which Christ’s precious ‘Golden Rule’ of ‘Do unto others as you would have them do unto you’ is purified and then tested. Perhaps Australia more than most nations has disasters in which to express the ANZAC spirit. From deluged towns and cities to droughts in the sun-baked Outback to raging bushfires the size of Scotland!

Australia was born in 1901 and she drew breath into her infant lungs when she had her bottom smacked at ANZAC Cove, Gallipoli! Now she smells of sweet gums. Red ochre is under her nails. Cicadas ring in her ears. The roar of the mighty Pacific surrounds her. Her heart bleeds red. At times she can be as quiet as walk in a rainforest. At others she’s as noisy as Sydney at rush hour! With Tasmanian devils to the south, cassowaries to the north and koalas in between, Australia has a rich diversity of wildlife. There’re rich resources in the ground, there’s sun-power, wave-power and wind-power to be harvested. Australia abounds in nature’s (read God’s) gifts.

‘Australians all let us rejoice, for we are young and free; we’ve golden soil and wealth for toil; our home is girt by sea; our land abounds in nature’s gifts of beauty rich and rare; in history’s page, let every stage advance Australia fair!’

One hundred years have passed since the ANZACs landed on Gallipoli on 25th April 1915. So far, so good? What do you think? Has Australia moved closer to or further away from God in Christ? To where is Australia advancing?        

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