A Good Memory, Part 2

“Lest we forget.”

These words will be echoed across RSL halls, war memorials and Community gatherings today, April 25th. This is Anzac Day, the day when Australians remember those who gave their lives in service to our country during all the wars of past generations, but especially World War I.

anzacYes, we could look back at the insanity of war, the bad judgement on the part of politicians who send young men to die on the battlefield, and the many, many mistakes that have been made that resulted in tragedy upon tragedy, loss after loss. We could look at the permanent scarring of the soldiers, the refugees created when their homes are obliterated, the PTSD and other mental health issues arising amongst the witnesses of such horror and the unacceptable numbers of men and women who have, upon returning from the battlefield, suicide.

War is never good. War is not a necessary fact of global life and there are ways of avoiding this monstrous, nation-numbing experience that so many have endured.

This is one of the reasons we have memorials erected in nearly every city and town across the nation to these brave men and women. As we visit these sacred spaces this week, witness with others in Dawn Services, ceremonies and marches, may we look at the moving stories of mateship, courage, and sacrifice, and dedicate our lives to building a better future with these lessons in mind.

May we use our collective memory for its intended purpose and, never forgetting the realities of war,  work towards a future of peace, hope and forgiveness.

To Lent or Not To Lent . . .

In an excellent article on Lent, The God Article looks at the practice of giving up something in honour of the sacrifice of Jesus. I have always been appreciative of the practice of self-sacrifice as a spiritual discipline, and I believe it is still a valuable part of the church’s (and the Christ-follower’s) year-long journey. However (and this is a major “however”), I feel, like prayer, giving and fasting, giving up something for Lent is something you do privately–something only yourself and God know. That is the critical difference between what is a path to spiritual awareness or growth and simply another New Year’s resolution.

“So, why are those kinds of things what we most frequently give up for Lent? I’d say it’s because the way we practice Lent has turned it into nothing more than a time for religious New Year’s resolutions. The timing is perfect too. We’ve had just enough time to not follow through on our actual New Year’s resolutions and to start feeling guilty about it. Lent gives us a second chance to not follow through… um, I mean succeed.” (Read the entire article here.)

So whether or not I choose to give up something for Lent, I won’t be publicising it. That will be a matter between God and me. Whatever I do, I know it won’t have any impact on the love God has for me or on God’s acceptance of me, so I will feel no guilt if I fail. Disappointment? Maybe. Shame? No. Because it’s not about perfection, but about a heart that is moving in the right direction.