Hilaire Belloc, a great orator, once said, “Man is the noblest of the beasts, but has the capacity to be lower than any beast.”
As we approach Anzac Day, this sums up my understanding of this important event in our calendar.
Many people associate Anzac Day with war and fighting…. and of course, that it is one intrinsic element. However, as an army chaplain for many years, I have always associated Anzac Day with peace. The women and men I know who went to war, did so because they believed that they were helping to bring peace. None of them were in the army so they could simply ‘go to war’.
I’m reminded too, that war is not some unavoidable natural disaster. We humans cause war, and all the associated de-humanising elements of war.
I know so many soldiers who have long left the army, and ‘the war’, but still carry the excoriating scars of this dehumanising period of their lives. These are wonderful human beings, who, because of the inability of nations to respect one another, found themselves compelled to fight for peace.
Wars don’t just happen…… each of us needs to be people of peace. This must happen in our homes, our schools, in our pubs, on-line, in the traffic, at work and wherever else we find ourselves acting as part of the community.
Today I pray for all who have been victims of war. I pray too that we might be people of peace. World peace starts with me.
Bishop Emeritus Eugene Hurley