I have always been intrigued by the coincidence that the two largest stories of sacrifice in the lives of Australians occur within days of each other. Easter and Anzac Day. There are many parallels in both stories of sacrifice. The willingness of a person to lay down their life for another. The other day I was pondering the concept of this type of sacrifice. It’s a given that I would sacrifice for my family, my wife and children as well as my siblings and parents. My friends I would like to think so. But a stranger? Hmm that caused me to pause as I examined my motives. It would be easier if I knew there was an acknowledgement of what I had done. If they were thankful and remembered what I had done.
This is where the Anzac Day message is different to Easter. Anzac Day is a day where the nation pauses and reflects on the sacrifices of many especially those who made the ultimate sacrifice of their life. Easter’s message of Jesus Christ’s death on the cross is even more poignant and demanding of mankind to pause and reflect because He knew it was going to cost His life and He knew that many would reject or not even accept His sacrifice for them. I would argue that Jesus’ death, His sacrifice, ultimately gave mankind more freedom than that of the diggers and yet as a nation we give it little or no value. We don’t like to pause and reflect because we become uncomfortable because His death demands a response from us. We accept the freedom that the Diggers bought for us but we struggle to accept the freedom that Christ gave us.
Two stories of sacrifice that both demand a response. One story we as a nation generously acknowledge and pay our respects. The other we struggle to accept and in some ways bury beneath a long weekend and lots of chocolate. Anzac Day is an important day in our nation’s history. Easter is an important day in our eternal history.