Sunday, April 26, 2015

NZ and the Nations

Yesterday was is a hundred years since Australian and New Zealand Troops landed on a beach in Turkey as part of the Dardanelles campaign during the First World War. The cost was high and the campaign was a failure. The troops were withdrawn 9 months later, having failed to achieve their objective.

During the campaign, nearly 3000 NZ men died and twice as many were wounded, leaving many young lives were ruined. These casualties were a huge blow for a nation of just over a million people.

The young New Zealand men who went to Gallipoli were all volunteers. I have often wondered why so many young men volunteered to go and fight in a country on the other side of the world in a place they knew nothing about.

One reason is that New Zealand has a calling to be a prophetic nation. God has two purposes for New Zealand. The first is to be a base from which the gospel is launched into Asia and the Pacific. Our failure to fulfil that calling is one reason why so many people from Asia and the Pacific have come to New Zealand. They are looking for the gospel, but do not realise it.

The second purpose God has for New Zealand is to be a nation where the Kingdom of God is demonstrated to the world.

God wants New Zealand as a nation
that will be a model to the nations
of a people who are living under the government of God.
God intends New Zealand to be one of those nations
where he demonstrates his Kingdom.
New Zealand is a nation that could be brought
under the government of God
and be a light to the nations.
This call is not new, it has always been there. Therefore, it is not surprising that the young men who went overseas were motivated by a strong desire to make a difference in the world. Unfortunately, they were let down by their leaders and they ending up fighting for the wrong kingdom, in the wrong way, so their brave struggles and the sacrifice of their lives was wasted.

They fought and died to protect the British Empire. They had been taught that the British Empire was so noble that it seemed like the Kingdom of God. Their leaders told them that by fighting for this empire they were fighting for God. It is now obvious that this was not true. The British Empire was no better than any other human empire, and it was definitely not the Kingdom of God.

Their chaplains also told them that dying in a war is the kind of sacrifice that Christian who follow Jesus are called to make. Unfortnately that was not true either. Jesus refused to use war to advance his kingdom, because he knew that it strengthens the spiritual forces of evil. In war, they are always the winners. When he was confronted by Roman military power, he suffered and died on the cross.

The true Christian sacrifice is responding to power and violence, with love, compassion and suffering. That is what Jesus did, and that is what he calls those who follow him to do. It is this kind of love and suffering that will bring in his Kingdom. The Kingdom of God will not be established by war and sacrificial death in war. It will be advanced by love and suffering in the face of evil and violence. When Jesus disciples follow his example, the Holy Spirit is free to work and the gospel goes forth in power.

No comments: