On Friday, Anzac Day, we remembered those who went to war and sacrificed their lives for their country. There were moving services all over the country as crowds gathered for dawn services, street marches and memorial services to remember the fallen and those who have served for their country at various places and various times in the last 100 years.
A week before that we celebrated Easter. This was a special week recognised by the church as Holy Week, a special time of remembering Jesus and the great sacrifice he made in offering his life for all of humanity. We spent time reflecting on the unjust trial he went through, the cruelty of his crucifixion, then the joy and hope of his resurrection.
Two weekends of sombre memories. Yet both were tinged with hope. Anzac Day services shared thoughts of renewed hope that we would learn from wars in the past and seek peace rather than conflict in the future. Yet somehow that hope still seems hard to achieve. As I write there are 10 armed conflicts occurring which are leading to at least 1000 violent deaths each year including Afghanistan, Somali, Nigeria, Pakistan, the Mexican drug war that saw more than 11,000 fatalities last year, the Syrian crisis, the Iraqi insurgency and conflicts in the Central African Republic and south Sudan.
It seems that no matter how much we march or remember, we still fall into our old ways. Despite all our best intentions to do better in future, we find ourselves in conflict with nations, our neighbours and even our friends and loved ones.
The hope that lingers with Easter is more than one that says, “I hope I can do better in future”. It is a hope that rests in Jesus whose sacrifice was beyond all others. I know that I’ll mess up again, but by trusting him in Him, I know that the debt of the past has been paid, and I have Someone who will help me through each day to discover a better way for the future.