Monday, 12 May 2014

Anzac Thoughts

What is it that makes people turn out in their thousands for Anzac Dawn Parades? 

For generations who are comfortably distanced from war the commemoration service seems to stir a deep need in people.   Dawn Parade is sufficiently secular and occurs sufficiently seldom that it provides a reason and the means to ‘act out’ that felt human need which has much to do with the human faculty of memory.

This deep need is akin to the need of human beings to worship a God. It seems human beings are hard wired to acknowledge someone or something that is completely outside, or other,or more perfect than all that we know makes up the human person. Nostalgia, the yearning for a more perfect time, is a common symptom of this hard wiring. The self-help industry provides many alternative means for fulfilling this longing. Science is getting better at explaining such human frailties but in the end science fails to explain completely what Christians would say is simply a longing for perfect love.

The followers of Jesus Christ see something of this otherness, or perfection in him. In Sunday worship Christians remember Calvary and the power of God who raised Jesus from the dead to life.  Resurrection memory contains the kind of perfection for which human beings long whether they are conscious of that longing or not.Worship of God allows Christians to ‘touch’ the perfect love of God each Sunday and this ‘touching’ satisfies human nature in a deeper way than those secular, quick fix solutions.

Ask anyone who went to a Dawn Parade what they were remembering and it will not just be fallen soldiers. Absence of loved ones and the general, more impersonal theme of suffering, death and resurrection will be in the mix somewhere along with the human longing for peace which perfect love brings.
                                                                                                                                     Sue Jones

Sue is a member of the Wairoa parish of St. Peters and a past member of St. Mary's Gisborne where she continues to have connections.  Sue is a paid, published Catholic writer.  She had her first article published in 1987 and since then has had dozens more published in Catholic publications in N.Z.

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