July 27th, 2014

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By request

Today's sermon

Amos 2:4-12

Reflections on the Great War

When I was a young man I carried my pack,
And I lived the free life of a rover
From the Murray’s green banks to the dusty Outback,
I waltzed my Matilda all over.
Then in 1915, my country said, “Son,
There’s no time for rovin’.
There’s work to be done.”
And they gave me a tin hat and they gave me a gun,
And they sent me away to the war.

One hundred years ago this week, Austria-Hungary fired the first shots in their conflict with Serbia, and so began what contemporaries called the Great War, and which we know as World War One. The crisis that led to the war had been going on for exactly one month, ever since Gavrilo Prinzip, a Bosnian Serb, had assassinated the Archduke Franz Ferdinand, heir to the Austro-Hungarian throne. This triggered a cascade of diplomatic and military activity that brought all the major European powers in against each other in two alliances: Germany and Austria-Hungary on one side; Russia, France, and Britain on the other. Eventually, most of the other European nations were drawn in, as well as other powers such as the Ottoman Empire, Japan, Australia, and the US. Some 16 million people died in or from the war, 9 million of them in uniform.Collapse )