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Bishop Peter Ingham: Easter 2017 – The Sacrifice of Jesus and the ANZACS

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An Australian Digger, one of two statues by Alan Somerville at Sydney’s ANZAC Bridge. The Australian soldier has a traditional slouch hat, while the other statue – of a New Zealand soldier (below) – has a pointed, ‘lemon squeezer’ hat. Photo: Giovanni Portelli

Over the course of the next two weeks many Australians will be celebrating two solemn memorials: Good Friday and ANZAC Day. Don’t disconnect them, both are inextricably linked.

In the Gospels, Jesus calls us his friends proclaiming, “A man can have no greater love than to lay down his life for his friends” (John 15:13).

PHOTO: Giovanni Portelli

For Christians, the fruit of the sacrifice of Jesus on the Cross is the forgiveness of sin resulting in peace of mind and heart lived in union with God. In those outstretched arms, the sheer extent of God’s love and mercy was borne out through Jesus Christ sharing in the suffering of an imperfect world.

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Barely a week after Good Friday we will celebrate ANZAC Day. In war and hardship we are exposed to the best and worst of humanity. We encounter the horrific to be sure, but we remember and celebrate the selflessness and sacrifice of those who gave their lives for their country.

Inevitably, victory and joy only come after the hard work is done. The freedoms and life we enjoy are the fruits of the ANZAC spirit of sacrifice which lives on in the selflessness of Australians today in responses to floods, cyclones, drought, bushfires and the like.

Likewise, the fruit of Good Friday comes on Easter Sunday in the joy of the Resurrection and new life lived under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, who encourages and empowers us to act like Jesus and treat each other in the way that we like to be treated ourselves (Luke 6:31).

May the Hope of the Risen Lord be our encouragement this Easter.

Yours in Christ,

Bishop Peter Ingham
Bishop of Wollongong
12 April 2017

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