APRIL 26, 2020
Reflections This Week:
ANZAC DAY (Saturday 25th April)
On this day we commemorate the anniversary of the first major military action fought conjointly by the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (ANZAC), during the First World War. These forces, along with others from the British dominions, landed on the beaches of the Gallipoli Peninsula, early on the morning of April 25, 1915.
Their objective was to engage and defeat the Turkish opposition, in order to open the Dardanelles to the allied navies. The ultimate objective was to capture Constantinople (now Istanbul), the capital of the Ottoman Empire, an ally of Germany.
The campaign was short lived and did not achieve its objective.
The successful evacuation of Anzac Cove began on 15 December, with 36,000 troops withdrawn over the following five nights. The last party left in the early hours of 20 December.
Some British and French forces remained at Helles until 8-9 January 1916.
The first ANZAC Day commemorations were held on 25 April 1916.
The day was marked by a wide variety of ceremonies and services across Australia, a march through London, and a sports day in the Australian camp in Egypt.
In London more than 2,000 Australian and New Zealand troops marched through the streets; a London newspaper headline dubbed them “the knights of Gallipoli”.
The day has been celebrated every April 25 since then.
Some may call it strange to commemorate such a day, when so many brave service men and women gave their lives in what seems a futile campaign, but that is exactly the point.
We’re not commemorating war, as such, but the heroism of those who then, and in many campaigns and wars since, unselfishly gave up their lives, so that we may live in peace.
Lord, this day we pray for all those service people who defended, and are still defending, the honour of our country. May those whose lives were lost, rest in peace, in your care.
Lest We Forget.
EASTER 3: The Road to Emmaus
Psalm 116:1-4 & 12-19
Acts 2:14a & 36-41
1 Peter 1:17-23
Although my major focus this week is based on Luke 24:13-35, I encourage you read it first, but after reading this reflection, then also read the other readings from the Revised Common Lectionary.
The “road to Emmaus” is one of our best-loved passages in the bible.
It resonates with our own sense of holding doubts and yet still being met by
Christ on the road, to be renewed and recalled into faith.
For us, it also provides wonderful images of Jesus, the Risen One, who meets us
on the road wherever we are (and not just in set-aside religious events);
who meets us in our doubts;
and whom we find again in the breaking of bread together.
If you’ve ever been on a return journey, be it by vehicle, or on foot, you’ll probably have noticed that the way back is a totally different experience to the way out to your destination.
It can appear to be faster (as you start noticing familiar landmarks), but it can also be more than just a retracing of one’s steps. Perspectives have changed and things don’t always look the same from a different direction.
So, too, for the two disciples, trudging wearily toward the town of Emmaus, on the third day after the death of their teacher, master and leader, Jesus.
They’d heard from Mary and the other disciples, that their Lord was not in the tomb where he’d been laid, but they weren’t there when he returned from the dead, and appeared before the eleven, just as he had told them he would do.
Instead, as they walked on dejectedly, they were approached by someone whom they were prevented from recognising.
This person asked what they were discussing, as they walked along.
Oblivious to who it was, they proceeded to tell him the story of Jesus, his life and deeds and how he had been executed at the behest of the Jewish religious leaders.
It was only when they supped together that their eyes were opened to the fact that this was Jesus, breaking the bread for them.
But then he disappeared from their view.
How different their journey back to Jerusalem must have seemed to them.
They were now full of excitement (“hearts burning within them”) and they could not wait to share this good news with their friends.
These friends were the same people, who only last week, we discussed as being full of fear, anxiety, confusion, grief, disappointment and loneliness.
How would they have gone about processing all their feelings in such a storm of uncertainty? Could they ever replace this pervasive fear with confident hope?
Forward to this week and we know that they’ve wrestled with things emotionally, but intellectually, and finally made sense of it all.
Jesus WAS ALIVE!
He appeared before them a number of times and let them touch his body, to confirm that he wasn’t an apparition.
One of the things they probably wondered was why God would have allowed his Son to suffer in such a way.
And I guess they would have asked the question: Where do we go from here?
The pilgrims on the road to Emmaus give us some clues.
What to us, seems impossible, is entirely in God’s hands.
Our task is not to wallow in our own self-pity of worry and doubt, but to get out there on the road and meet the risen Christ, who will reveal himself to us in simple ways.
Next week, we’ll see what Jesus told the disciples (and us) that we should do with our time on earth.
My favourite verse comes from Psalm 116:12
“What shall I return to the Lord for all this bounty to me?”
God has given us everything and all he asks of us is to love him and love our neighbours as ourselves.
Until we meet again, stay safe and well, cradled in the hands of the Risen Saviour.
Saint Augustine said: “You have made us for yourself O Lord, and our heart is restless until it rests in you.”
Vaya con Dios (travel, or go, with God)
24/4/2020 06:16:07 pm
25/4/2020 05:31:18 pm
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