Lament, repentance and hope: a liturgy for ANZAC Day

John H. Smith, a member of the working group to create a liturgy appropriate to ANZAC Day, writes here about the forthcoming service to be held at 11 am on ANZAC Day in the Anglican Cathedral, Melbourne (the cathedral is at the Flinders Street train station junction):



This is a service of lament, repentance and hope on the centenary of the First World War. We will lament the destruction and waste of so many young men and women on all sides, the pain and anguish suffered by those who returned, by their families and communities. 
This is focused in 2018 in recalling
The War to end all wars
Those who said no to war, 
The forgotten Aboriginal wars. 
We will repent of the ongoing war and violence in our world and in our hearts, and hear again the hope of God’s gift of peace, given to us in the Crucified and Risen Lord, being lived out in many scenes of conflict. 
We will honour the courage and self-sacrifice of all who fought in the First World War by praying for peace and doing all we can that makes for genuine peace, that young men and women may never go to war again.
In this time of heightened tensions, we especially pray that Australia and other nations will not be led into war again.  

The service was first held in 2015 marking the commemoration of the landing at Gallipoli. Our hope was that during the centenary of WWI we would offer an alternative to the usual nationalistic, militaristic, glorification of war and perhaps contribute to seeding an alternative narrative.

The level of participation in the service has been growing, we think because may Christian people feel the same way as we do.  

The Anzac Working Group is made up of the following persons:

The Revd Canon Dr Stephen Ames (Convenor)
The Revd Harry Kerr, (Chairperson of Pax Christi Victoria)
The Revd Dr Wes Campbell (retired UCA minister)
Dr Val Noone, Historian
The Revd Dr John Smith (Secretary)


Here’s the liturgical text for 2018:



CALL TO WORSHIP         The Revd Canon Dr Stephen Ames                                                        Christ is risen! Alleluia!
He is risen indeed! Alleluia!

GREETING.                                                                                                                                          The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God
and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with you;
and also with you.

We acknowledge the Wurundjeri people of the Kulin nations,
the first inhabitants of this place.
We honour them for their custodianship of the land,
on which we gather today, and with them, pray for justice and their constitutional recognition.


HYMN                                                                                                                                                      1 Turn back, O turn, forswear your foolish ways.
Old now is earth, 
and none may count her days,
Yet you, her child, 
whose head is crowned with flame,
Still will not hear
your inner God proclaim,
'Turn back, O turn, forswear your
foolish ways.'

3 Earth shall be fair, 
and all her people one;
Nor till that hour
shall God's whole will be done.
Now, even now, 
once more from earth to sky,
Peals forth in joy
this old, undaunted cry,
'Earth shall be fair, 
and all her people one!'    

2 Earth might be fair, 
and all be glad and wise.
Age after age
their tragic empires rise,
Built while they dream, 
and in that dreaming weep:
Would we but wake
from out our haunted sleep,
Earth might be fair, 
and all be glad and wise.

REMEMBERING TRULY.                                                                                                                   Dulce et Decorum Est by Wilfred Owen

Bent double, like old beggars under sacks, 
Knock-kneed, coughing like hags, we cursed through sludge, 
Till on the haunting flares we turned our backs, 
And towards our distant rest began to trudge. 
Men marched asleep. Many had lost their boots, 
But limped on, blood-shod. All went lame; all blind; 
Drunk with fatigue; deaf even to the hoots
Of gas-shells dropping softly behind. 
Gas! GAS! Quick, boys!—An ecstasy of fumbling
Fitting the clumsy helmets just in time, 
But someone still was yelling out and stumbling
And flound’ring like a man in fire or lime.—
Dim through the misty panes and thick green light, 
As under a green sea, I saw him drowning. 

In all my dreams before my helpless sight, 
He plunges at me, guttering, choking, drowning. 

If in some smothering dreams, you too could pace
Behind the wagon that we flung him in, 
And watch the white eyes writhing in his face, 
His hanging face, like a devil’s sick of sin; 
If you could hear, at every jolt, the blood
Come gargling from the froth-corrupted lungs, 
Obscene as cancer, bitter as the cud
Of vile, incurable sores on innocent tongues,— 
My friend, you would not tell with such high zest
To children ardent for some desperate glory, 
The old Lie: Dulce et decorum est, Pro patria mori.
 [it is sweet and honourable to die for one's country]

The "war to end all wars"  

Kyrie (TiS 735)
Kyrie, Kyrie, Eleision: Kyrie, Kyrie, Eleison.                                          
Christe, Christe, Eleison: Christe, Christe, Eleison.                                  
Kyrie, Kyrie, Eleison: Kyrie, Kyrie, Eleison.
Those who said no to war
Kyrie Eleison
The Aboriginal Wars
Kyrie Eleison
Pause for silent reflection

LAMENT FOR 1918.                                                                                                                                Holy God, holy and strange, 
Holy and intimate,
Have mercy on us.

O my people, what have I done to you?
How have I offended you? Answer me?
I brooded over the abyss.
With my words I called forth creation:
but you have brooded on destruction,
and manufactured the means of chaos.

Holy God, holy and strange,
Have mercy on us.

I breathed life into your bodies,
and carried you tenderly in my arms:
but you armed yourselves for war,
dealing out death and destruction.

Holy God, holy and strange,
Have mercy on us.

I abandoned my power like a garment, 
choosing your unprotected flesh:
but you have embraced mass destruction
and threatened the flesh of children’s children.

Holy God, holy and strange,
Have mercy on us.

I would have gathered you to me as a lover,
and shown you the ways of peace:
but you sought security in armaments
and embraced domination.

Holy God, holy and strange,
Have mercy on us.

I have laboured to deliver you
as a woman delights to give life:
but you have delighted in bloodshed,
and laboured to bereave the world.

Holy God, holy and strange,
Have mercy on us.

I have torn the face of my glory,
transfiguring the earth:
but you have disfigured my beauty
and left creation desolate. 
O my people, what have I done to you?
How have I offended you? Answer me?

Holy God, holy and strange, 
Holy and intimate,
Have mercy on us.

Adapted from “Bread of To-morrow, Janet Morley (Ed.) SPCK 1993

1. Were you there when they crucified my Lord?
    Were you there when they crucified my Lord?
    O sometimes it causes me to tremble, tremble, tremble;
    were you there when they crucified my Lord?
2. Were you there when they nailed him to the tree? …
3. Were you there when they pierced him in the side? …
4. Were you there when the sun refused to shine? …
5. Were you there when they laid him in the tomb? …
6. Were you there when he rose from out the tomb? …


Your word, O God, is a lamp to our feet:
and a light to our path. 

First Reading: Genesis 22:1-14
Second Reading: John 2:13-22
Lord, may your word live in us:
and bear much fruit to your glory.

SERMON      The Rev Fr Claude Mostowik MSC

1. God! As with silent hearts we bring to mind
how hate and war diminish human kind,
we pause, and seek in worship to increase
our knowledge of the things that make for peace.    

2. Hallow our will as humbly we recall
the lives of those who gave and give their all.
We thank you, God, for women, children, men
who seek to serve in love, today as then.

3. Give us deep faith to comfort those who mourn,
high hope to share with all the newly born,
strong love in our pursuit of human worth:
‘lest we forget’ the future of this earth.    

4. So, God of Peace, disarm our trust in power,
teach us to coax the plant of peace to flower.
May we, impassioned by your living Word,
Remember forward to a world restored.

Let us confess:
our continued collusion with the ways of war and violence;
our implicit support for the way of nuclear destruction;
our sending forth of young men and women to kill and be killed;
and our failure to learn from the horrors of the Great War.
O Christ, in whose body was named all the violence of the world,
and in whose memory is contained our profoundest grief,
we lay open to you: 
the violence done to us in time before memory;
the unremembered wounds that have misshapen our lives;
the injuries we cannot forget and have not forgiven.
You are the Way of Love;
Pierce our hearts with your mercy.

We lay open to you:
the unremembered wounds we have inflicted;
the injuries done to us that we cannot forget
and for which we have not been forgiven.
You are the Way of Love;
teach us your paths.

We lay open to you:
those who have pursued a violent knowledge
the world cannot forget;
those caught up in violence they have refused to name;
those who have enacted violence which they have not repented.
You are the Way of Love;
enlighten us with your Light. 

We lay open to you: 
the victims of violence whose only memorial is our anger;
those whose suffering was sustained on our behalf;
those whose continued oppression
provides the ground on which we stand.
You are the Way of Love;
lead us to our true country. 

DECLARATION OF FORGIVENESS    Stephen Ames.                                                                       The light of God shines for us in the face of Jesus Christ. 
When anyone is in Christ there is a new creation,
old things have passed away,
everything has been made new,
and we walk in the light of God.  

Friends, hear Christ's word of grace to us:
"Your sins are forgiven."
Thanks be to God!

Candles are lit from the Paschal Candle and placed in the sand bowls. 
During the singing of the chant, you are invited to go to the sand bowls to light a candle for peace and remembrance of those who have died, or are suffering from war.

Dona Nobis Pacem Domine (Grant us peace, Lord)
The cantor introduces the chant.
The congregation sings the chant while the Cantor sings the verses.
1.   I will hear what the Lord has to say, a voice that speaks of peace,
peace for his people and his friends, and those who turn to him in their hearts.
2.   Blest are they who bring peace, for they shall be called the children of God.
3.   ‘Peace I leave with you’, says the Lord, ‘my peace I give you.
Do not let your hearts be troubled or afraid,
I will be with you always.’
4.   Christ is our peace, making us one.
In his own person he destroyed hostility.
He came and preached the good news of peace.
5.  Lord Jesus Christ, you said to your apostles,
‘I leave you peace, my peace I give to you.’
Look not on our sins, but on the faith of your church, 
and grant us the peace and unity of your kingdom. Amen.
Christ be our Light
Cantor sings the verses, the people join for the refrain
Christ be our Light! Shine in our hearts, shine in the darkness.                                                    Christ be our Light! Shine in your church, gathered today.
Remain seated for the prayers.

     God, come to our aid: grant us the gift of peace. 
And now let us pray together:
God of all creation, 
Hasten the day when all people shall live together
in the peace and unity that you intend for us,
in Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Our Father in heaven…
Please feel free to pray in your own tongue.

In Peace let us offer ourselves afresh to God, and to one another:
Jesus said: "Blessed are the peace makers,
    for they will be called children of God." (Matthew 5:9)
As a sign of our commitment to be peacemakers,
let us share the Peace of Christ with one another.

We are the Body of Christ;
his Spirit is with us.
The peace of Christ be with you all;
and also with you.

HYMN.                                                                                                                                                     1. Lord of earth and all creation,
let your love possess our land:
wealth, and freedom, far horizons,
mountain, forests, shining sand:
may we share, in faith and friendship,
gifts unmeasured from your hand.

2. People of the ancient Dreamtime,
they who found this country first,
ask with those, the later comers,
will our dream be blessed or cursed?
Grant us, Lord, new birth, new living,
hope for which our children thirst.

3. Lord, life-giving healing Spirit,
on our hurts your mercy shower;
lead us by your inward dwelling, 
guiding, guarding, every hour.
Bless and keep our land Australia:
in your will her peace and power.

May God bless you and keep you.
May God smile upon you and be gracious to you.
May God look upon you kindly, and give you peace.


Candle bowl from the 2015 ANZAC Day service. Photo by Beverley Campbell

Candle bowl from the 2015 ANZAC Day service. Photo by Beverley Campbell