by Pat Lee
(Based on Mark 15:33-37)
The Mark reading is the story of Jesus’s death. Usually a Good Friday reading, it relates Jesus’s last moments before he died. We know that this was not the final chapter in his life though. He had told his disciples several times that he was going to die, but that he would be raised on the third day, and it was so. We have just recently celebrated Easter and his resurrection.
Today we commemorate the landing of Australian and New Zealand troops on the Gallipoli Peninsula in Turkey. But we also remember all the military personnel who served and died in not only the First World War but also the Second World War, Korean War, Vietnam War, Gulf War, and other conflicts that our soldiers have been involved in in more recent times.
Many of us here today, if not all, have lost someone special in one of these wars. My father’s youngest brother died just a few days before the war ended in Europe in 1945, and my husband Michael’s father, who flew a Wellington bomber, died when his plane was shot down. He was able to save his crew, but not himself. He left behind a wife and a 5 month old son.
My son went to the Gulf War, so I and my family have a personal experience of knowing the kind of stress and anxiety that families faced with a loved one serving in a futile conflict. He came back, and today he will wear his grandfather’s medals, and his own, with pride.
All these young people died serving their country. Many of them went off to war thinking they would be home again before long. Sadly, not so. They found themselves in frightening, horrendous situations, cold, wet and muddy, and ill prepared. Most of them didn’t really understand what they were fighting or dying for.
One of the things that helped many of them cope with the situations they found themselves in was their Christian faith. They knew their risen Saviour. The Lord’s prayer and the 23rd Psalm would have been of great comfort to them. Today is also Jesus, the Good Shepherd Sunday.
Jesus died knowing that he would rise on the third day. He is alive. They are not. We will remember them.