On the early dawn on Anzac Day, I stood with the crowds gathered at the Anzac Memorial in Brisbane City as we listened to our State Governor, his Excellency the Honourable Paul de Jersey AC, deliver Queensland’s Anzac Dawn Service’s message.
You may know that Governor De Jersey is a faithful Christian leader and he has served as the chancellor of the Anglican Diocese of Brisbane since 1991. His Anzac Dawn speech was a tremendous blessing for those gathered, as Governor De Jersey wove the deep themes of our Anzac tradition with the stories of every day folk. It was noticeable throughout his message, that Governor De Jersey was interested in the people of Anzac.
This focus on people echoes the stories of Easter joy. The endings of each of the four gospel accounts tell the stories of the people who encountered the Risen Lord. In these accounts, we are told of how these people were changed, amazed, encouraged, inspired, renewed and overjoyed on account of the Good News that “He is risen, just as he said.”
In recent times, we have seen the “devaluing” of persons in the name of religion. Both in New Zealand, and in Sri Lanka (and elsewhere) we have seen the opposite of what we learn about the heart of the Risen Lord from the Gospels. In the Easter stories we learn how each person is cherished by the Lord of the empty grave. Each life is precious: including yours and mine.
When the Risen Lord Jesus met his disciples behind those closed doors, he brought them deep joy and then sent them to be his witnesses to this good news. In John 20, he says, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you.” He sends us with this greatest good news that the Lord cherishes each of us, enough to go to the cross and grave for us.
God bless you as you bear witness to this greatest of stories, continued down through the ages and continuing through us in the Church of the 21st century.
(You can read Governor de Jersey’s message on the Government House website.)