John 15:12-13 This is what I command you: Love each other as I have loved you. The greatest love people can show is to die for their friends. You are my friends if you do what I tell you to do.
New Zealanders and Australians have a funny little relationship going. We’re like bickering siblings, having little digs at each other across the Tasman Sea. We Aussies like to point out that there are like twenty sheep to every human being in New Zealand (although really, it’s down to about seven these days). And the Kiwis love to rub our noses in the fact that their rugby team, the All Blacks, always destroys our team, the Wallabies.
We’re so much alike and yet there’s this friendly and sometimes a little too pointed rivalry between our two nations. And I’m there right in the thick of that. I love that banter.
But here’s the funny thing. Although I feel perfectly comfortable in having the odd little dig at the Kiwis, if someone from another country should have a go at them, I’m the first one to leap to their defence. I’ll tell that person what a beautiful country New Zealand is, how wonderful the people are, how innovative their economy is. I guess that’s what siblings do, right?
But that odd little relationship was forged in the fires of hell on the other side of the world, on a blood-soaked beach in Turkey.
Today is ANZAC day – the day we remember the terrible suffering of the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps, the ANZACs during WWI, when the generals landed them on the wrong beach, and then sent wave after wave of them into the enemy’s machine gun fire, leaving the blood of these young ANZACs to soak that land.
And there’s another odd thing about that. Australians and New Zealanders commemorate a terrible defeat, whereas most other countries celebrate their victories.
This is what I command you: Love each other as I have loved you. The greatest love people can show is to die for their friends. You are my friends if you do what I tell you to do. (John 15:12-13)
It doesn’t matter what country you were born in, what culture you grew up in, where you live … sacrifice has a way of bringing people together; of forging unbreakable relationships, in the furnace of adversity.
That’s why an Aussie will always stand up for a Kiwi, and a Kiwi will always stand up for an Aussie.
No greater love has any man, than to lay down his life for a friend.
That’s God’s Word. Fresh … for you … today.