remembering war in the light of Easter

I struggle to know how to feel about war — and public rememberances of war like Anzac Day.

I’m not quite a pacifist. But I lean pretty strongly in that direction.

I find some of the more overdrawn comparisons between Christ’s sacrifice and those of our diggers hard to take.

There’s something to them of course (Loren does a good job highlighting some of the similarities without making too much of them). And yet…

I was especially worried about the proximity of Anzac Day to Good Friday this year. But then something really interesting happened — Easter got in the way.

Although the message of Christ’s sacrifice rightfully looms large at this time of year, Easter itself is about the resurrection. It’s about God’s triumphant “Yes!” to life and peace (rather than death and violence).

To me, this sheds light from at least two different angles on the way we remember war.

First, it casts into sharp relief the fact that death is not God’s intention for his world. Now — and even more so in the new creation Christ’s resurrection guarantees — war doesn’t fit.

Second, it changes how we understand death itself.

In the light of Easter, we see that death may be the last enemy to be defeated, but it is not the greatest enemy. There are things worse than death.

And so, doing everything we can to avoid death may evidence its own pathology — and plunge us straight into some of those things (making us complicit with evil, for example, if we fail to stand against it).

I may be wrong. But, taken together, these two points at least give a foot in the door to a way of remembering war that mourns its tragedy at the same time as it admits that there may have been good reasons to fight…

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