Blogs We Love, Dr David Cohen: Head of Department Biblical Studies, Theologians At Lunch

ANZAC Day 2020

ANZAC day seems to have snuck up on us this year!

So much has been happening in Australia and abroad with the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic that it’s been almost impossible to focus on what we would normally be doing at this time of year. In 2020 ANZAC day will be like none before it. No dawn services, no marches through cities and towns and no communal celebrations. Perhaps some lone buglers will stand on street corners offering the Last Post and Reveille as a musical soliloquy to remembrance. But that’s about all!

We can all still pause to remember though, albeit in a different way this year.

Previous generations lived through the horrors of war and experienced the resulting freedom from great sacrifices. However, many of us have been fortunate to exist in a society not directly affected by armed conflict. This lack of experience can result in complacency in regard to the freedoms we have, particularly in Australia. In recent days our freedoms have been clearly challenged through the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic. It’s been interesting to hear the emergence of the pandemic characterized as a ‘war’ by some. We’ve been urged to fight against the spread of the virus and gain victory so that our freedoms might be restored. In Australia, where individual freedom is both assumed and prized, it’s not surprising that we feel like an enemy is threatening our liberty. Waging war seems to be a reasonable response.

The onset of the pandemic and ANZAC day commemorations both underline the immense value of freedom and what it feels like when that freedom is threatened or lost. Recently, Easter has reminded us that the Good News about Jesus is also a message of freedom. In Luke 4 Jesus reads from the prophet Isaiah as a way of describing his mission to liberate humankind. This year, under the shadow of the Covid-19 pandemic, may we pause to remember those who fought in wars for the freedom we sometimes fail to cherish until it is threatened. Perhaps the pandemic ‘shadow’ will prompt us to value our freedoms more than we have done in the past. It may also remind us, as people of faith, that, ‘It is for freedom that Christ has set us free!’

  • Dr. David Cohen


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