3rd January 2015
Last Advent saw in my memory an unprecedented acknowledgment and even outpouring of the fruit of Christian grace on the public stage.
Earlier was so called agnostic Gough Whitlam's funeral service having Blake's Jerusalem and excerpts from St Matthews Passion, then his son detailing the liturgical influences on Gough's psyche. They can't do without it when it counts!
Not much longer came Phil Hughes death at the crease, the fully televised Catholic funeral service with the haunting melody of a modern version of the Shepherd's Psalm described by one sports editor as magnificent and beautiful. It didn't stop there. As the first test rolled on and Clarke, Warner and Smith made their tons they all looked upward to the supposed heavenly dwellings in salute. Then Warner publicly thanked Hughes for helping them make the win! As secular as we in other circumstances like to say we are, we can't get away from at least a folk-ised Christianity. We must have it.
Then came the Lindt cafe siege. As the second day drew to a close and the tragic hostage deaths were lamented news cameras focussed on one directly worded prayer to the Lord amongst the mass of floral tributes. The news cycle ended with Malcolm Turnbull outside the special service conducted by the archbishop at St Andrews Cathedral. Emotionally he concludes "its all about love, and that is why that service was so beautiful, it was all love"
The ABC 7.30 pm report had a terrorism expert asked the impossible question; how will we stop this from happening again? His answer-not by more legislation, there is enough already. If someone has evil in their heart and decides to execute that evil, there have to be other means to deal with it. Full stop.
Well there has been much talk about our values and Turnbull probably said it best. But values have to come from somewhere. And last years Advent events are all pointing in that direction. Behaviours, social and individual come from values . But values come from beliefs. And those value producing beliefs which have blessed our Aussie society come from one source only. The Bible. The revelation of Christ. The revealed truth of the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ. Carols in the Domain topped it off with a service televised to the whole of Australia celebrating its annual highpoint with the Hallelujah chorus. Jesus- Lord of Lords.
We enjoy the fruit of Christianity; peace order, freedom and tolerance. After the siege police commissioners, politicians and media hosts reiterated these continuously . But such fruit only grows from trees with roots in the Word of God . Some like Nikki Gemmell in her Weekend Australian piece eschew church but like the carols, the blessings of Christianity, and acknowledges atheism has nothing to compete.
Well, the root has to be nourished to produce the fruit. And deep in the soul of Australians the Word of Christ must find a home for these values to flourish. Without direct relationship with God through Christ we are spiritual vacuums open to any ideology that is the fancy of lobbyists and hard core ideologues and religionists. Honour Christ as Lord in life and declare his name publicly every Sunday in resurrection joy. Preachers - preach it, your work is the premier task of the nation. Christians live it with trust and courage, you are the salt of the nation.