Thursday, April 21, 2011

Easter and ANZAC Day

This upcoming weekend is a time of remembrance and celebration for us in Australia. Not only is it Easter weekend but we will have ANZAC Day held on Tuesday this year.

Easter is the time set specifically aside for Christians to remember Jesus death and resurrection.

ANZAC Day is the day that Australians remember those who have fought on our behalf in a number of wars.

Basically this weekend is all about one word: sacrifice.

On ANZAC Day we celebrate our freedom that came at a cost. That cost was tens of thousands of (mostly) young men’s lives. Their sacrifice means we live in a free country, a country not run by a dictator, a country not constantly torn apart by civil wars, a country where education and healthcare and financial assistance is available to everyone regardless of race, gender or religion.

When we celebrate Easter, we are also celebrating a freedom that came at a cost. That cost was Jesus Christs death on a cross. God sacrificed His one and only Son so that we could have freedom of life too.

Sacrifice always costs.

Of course we know that Jesus rose from the dead and returned to His disciples for a time, then returned to His Father in heaven. For so many of the soldiers that have fought over time, they didn’t return to their loved ones. Their sacrifice was not theirs alone – their families and loved ones gave up fathers, husbands, brothers and sons. God asks us the same.

Jesus sacrifice is no longer His alone. He asks us to join Him. Perhaps not in the same way, although His disciples all lost their lives here for His cause.

Jesus said “If anyone would come after me, he must daily take up his cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will save it.” Luke 9:23-24

Sacrifice might not mean that we lose our life in death, but we are called to give our lives for others. That sacrifice might mean your money, time or talents. It might mean forgiving someone who has hurt you. It might mean going out of your way to love a difficult person. For some people it means moving countries to share God’s love with others who have never heard the Gospel.

There is no one right way to do sacrifice for the Kingdom of God, but if you are truly sacrificing yourself for it, it will cost you something, even just your comfort.

That’s how I judge my own sacrifice. Am I uncomfortable? If I’m honest, at the moment the answer is ‘no’.

How about you? As we remember Christs sacrifice this weekend, let’s all take some time to think about our own sacrifices. Like me, are you too comfortable?

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