There has been some comment that Anzac Day on April 25 trumped Easter Sunday on April 24 with the SMH reporting that, ‘Media Monitors says there were 1878 mentions of the word Anzac in broadcast media over the long weekend, compared to only 44 resurrections.’
The unusual conjunction in the Australian calendar of the two ‘key foundation stories’ meant that the devout may have found themselves at a dawn service two days in a row!
No doubt coverage of Anzac Day did outstrip Easter commemorations, one reason being that most Anzac Day events took place out in the community with a degree of effort taken to ensure everyone was made welcome to attend. In many case Easter services took place behind church walls with the uninitiated left to work out for themselves how to attend.
For example, holidaying a long way from home, we received invitations both verbal and written, to the Anzac Dawn Service in the small town in which we stayed but were left to search Google to see if there was a church within walking distance. There wasn’t.
It may be that in some cases, the church has given up trying to make the amazing message of Easter accessible to all while momentum for Anzac Day continues to grow. I would say – more power to Anzac Day, but those of us who know the power of Easter truth should not be afraid of taking our joy outside in genuine, unself-conscious and welcoming ways.
The Divine may yet have the last headline in any case. Media commentators may not be aware, but in many Anzac Day commemorations, large and small, around the nation, Christian ministers are invited to give the address and invariably draw comparisons between the self-sacrifice, giving of life and courage embedded in Anzac Day and likewise in the Christ of Easter.
There is nothing closer to a national Christian service than Anzac Day, even though it is a secular event. The sentiments expressed are often as close to the Christian message as they two days were on the calendar this year.