Australia Day

Acacia (wattle) flowers Photo: T. Hampel

Acacia (wattle) flowers Photo: T. Hampel

Australia Day 

Today we celebrate a special day in the history of our nation. It marks the arrival of the First Fleet of British ships in Sydney Cove in 1788. While it hasn’t always been celebrated throughout the nation as it is today, there has been some recognition of this anniversary from at least 1808.

It is also an event which is steeped in controversy. It has also been widely called “Invasion Day”, especially amongst our indigenous peoples. I must admit to having mixed feelings about this, but I acknowledge that the indigenous people do have a point. But to deny the right for the non-indigenous population to celebrate is to deny a significant event in our history, no matter how distasteful it may be to a part of our society. We can’t turn back the clock, nor can we pretend it didn’t happen.

I felt the same way in 2008 when the then Prime Minister Kevin Rudd announced the Apology to Australia’s Indigenous Peoples, and during the now annual Sorry Day. Again, it recognises a sad, tragic part of our history, but not being personally involved I found it hard to accept, but realised it was a necessary step in the right direction.

At the time there was much talk of reconciliation. There has been much progress in recent years in reconciliation between different cultures in our nation, and with the indigenous peoples in particular. It is my opinion, however, that true and complete reconciliation between peoples cannot fully occur except at the foot of the Cross of Jesus Christ.

I count amongst my dearest friends some brothers and sisters in Christ who are Aborigines. Our skin colour is irrelevant; we are one in Christ. I have shared the preaching platform with these brothers, and felt a great privilege to do so. Our common love for Jesus Christ completely obliterated any differences we may have had in the present, or in our past.

Let us, on this special day, pray for true reconciliation between our peoples. Let us also pray for our nation, our leaders, our community and our neighbours. Pray that many will be reconciled to God through faith in Jesus Christ.

“Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were making an appeal through us; we beg you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God.” (2 Cor 5:20)

˄TH

Sydney Harbour Bridge (Photo Trevor Hampel)

Sydney Harbour Bridge (Photo Trevor Hampel)