Robin J Johnson
For the second time in a month the world’s attention has focused on Sydney, Australia. Two separate, but very sad and tragic events have taken place.
Firstly the untimely and sad death of the young Australian cricket player Phillip Hughes in the middle of a game at the Sydney Cricket Ground. Then a few days ago a terrorist siege with hostages at the Lindt Chocolate Shop in Martin Place and it’s tragic end. Three people lost their lives; a crazed gunman and two who were completely innocent.
All this in the city, which gave us “ETERNITY” and is also infamous for its outrageous, irreligious and offensive annual Gay Mardi Gras.
It is always difficult to comment in times like these. One does not want to take advantage of other’s pain or to be accused of being opportunistic because of someone else’s suffering. Our thoughts and prayers go out to families and friends of the men and women who died and also to those who were traumatised and injured during the incident in Martin Place.
Life must go on
Nevertheless, things need to be said. Life must go on and as it does maybe one little bit of good that can come from such sadness is to make the future better.
I, along with you all have experienced various emotions; sadness, tears and relief, along with many thoughts throughout the day as I reflected on yesterday’s events. The first thought when I heard of the outcome was, I didn’t intercede enough. Yes, friends and I joined in prayer as the news reports first began to break. But did we do enough, should we have tarried longer?
Thank God there was not more loss of life other than the two innocent victims and the criminal perpetrator of the violence.
Thinking about both events there appears to be at least one common thread that I can see emerge from these moments, when people’s lives were snatched away in an untimely manner. It is ETERNITY. Everyone, for at least a brief moment, if not much longer has had to consider eternity.
No one wants to think about a life lost forever. When you listen to the comments of many during the funeral of the cricketer Philip Hughes and team mates since, they talk about him as still being around or watching over them, in one way or another.
I am sure that similar comments will also be made with reference to the two innocent people whose lives were taken during the siege.
As I said, Sydney brought the momentous thought provoking word, ETERNITY to the world’s attention, displaying this word on the Sydney Harbour Bridge as a New Year Eve’s fireworks banner a few years ago.
Mr Eternity, as he became known, was Arthur Stace, a man who experienced “amazing grace”, lived in Sydney up until his death in 1967. In 1930 he had a life transforming experience, converting to Christianity, rescued from alcoholism. His God given message was simple yet profound. ETERNITY. For 35 years he walked the streets of Sydney and wrote the word ETERNITY in chalk on the footpaths. Many were challenged by this unique and simple testimony.
It is a timely reminder for all of us that we must live our life in the light of eternity. One day, you and I will leave this world.
And just as each person is destined to die once and after that comes judgment.
Someone has said that we need to live like there is no tomorrow, but plan for the next 100 years.
None us know when our time here will end. Let us therefore make good use of the time we have now. Don’t let things go undone. Say the things that need to be said. Hug those close to you at every opportunity and love without reservation. When you have departed all your loving is done. Love must be for today!
We all need to be busy with the things which last forever; the things that will carry over into eternity with us. How much of our time and energy is consumed on that which will perish?
Just like Arthur Stace we too need to be messengers of hope; reminding others that life is eternal. Eternity is real; there is a hell to escape and a heaven to gain.
ETERNITY is in our hearts. In spite of all the protests people might make, the denials of the Gospel and claims of Christianity – it is very clear and obvious that literally at the end of the day human beings have a hope, even an expectation of Eternity – of being somewhere safe but still aware, watching on and over those still here on earth. This is simply because God our creator has put Eternity in out hearts. He has also made the way for us to be assured/certain of our destination and safe arrival at that heavenly location through Christ. He wants everyone to be there with Him.
Amazing grace is a gift and inheritance for each and everyone.
For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith —and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God.
People have choices to make, but how can they make them if they are not told?
Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved. How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them?
Romans 10:13 – 14
This is the Christmas season. The world must hear the truth, a bold and compassionate message clearly spelling out the reason for the season. Christ the Lord has come!
For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.
John 3:16 – 17
This is amazing grace!
Inherent in the Gospel message is the power!
I am not ashamed of this Good News about Christ. It is the power of God at work, saving everyone who believes—the Jew first and also the Gentile.
You and I must just share that message and let the love and power of God do the rest.
Believer or nonbeliever, both must prepare now for ETERNITY!