We meet together this morning to remember those who have served and given their lives in the protection of our country.
For many of us this is a very personal time, as we remember fathers, uncles, grandfathers who have given their lives. I remember my grandfather who served and was injured at Gallipoli. We remember their courage, their service, and their commitment to offer even their lives to secure peace and freedom.
And yet as we remember we can’t help but also question. For we remember the countless men and women who served, who fought and bled and died for peace, and yet that peace was so fleeting. Only 20 years after the great war, the so called “war to end all wars”, the world was again ravaged by global conflict. And since then a decade has not gone by where brave men and women, brave New Zealanders have given their lives in the service of their country – given their lives in the pursuit of peace.
And so we question when that peace will come. When will wars cease? When will there be peace that lasts longer than the time it takes for ink to dry on a treaty, or a tear to dry on a cheek. When? When will we know such peace?
But as we question, we find hope in remembering. Remembering not the countless men and women who have died, but one man who told us that we could have peace. We remember one man who gave his life not for a passing, fleeting peace, but for a perfect, eternal peace. A peace between us and God. We remember a man who died not on a battle field, or in a hospital, or in the arms of his mate, but alone, condemned on a cross. A man who willingly gave his life in the service of others, to secure for them a peace which will never end. A peace which reconciles them to God. A peace which forgives them for their rebellion against God. A peace which is available to anyone who commits themselves to their divine commanding officer.
Has this peace which Jesus offers stopped bloodshed? Not yet. Has this peace which Jesus offers meant an end to the hatred in our cities? Not yet. Is this peace which he offers certain. It is. It’s certain because the one who raised Jesus from the dead has promised that there will be a day of peace. A day when those who have committed themselves to Jesus find themselves face to face with their commander. A day when war will be unknown, when there will be no more death, or mourning or crying or pain. There will be peace – a greater peace than the world has ever known.
So today we remember. We remember those who gave their lives for the peace we now enjoy. And we remember him who offers us an eternal peace which we can enjoy forever.