Eternity

Stephen Hawkings' A Brief History of Time has sold ten millions copies. My prayer tweet the day after his death was 'Lord, now give him a brief history of eternity'. The Dean of Westminster Abbey announced that his ashes would lie next to those of Isaac Newton and Charles Darwin in the Abbey and said:'We believe it to be vital that science and religion work together to answer the great questions of the mystery of life and of the universe'.


Then, last Sunday, I joined Australians in four states for their Autumn Equinox Prayer on skype. They always include an inspiring story of an indigenous or settler Australian. This time it was about Arthur Stace, a child of alcoholics and an ex-prisoner who converted to Christ in 1930, and was rivetted by an evangelists's sermon on  “The Echoes of Eternity” from Isaiah 57:1. The evangelist shouted: “Eternity, Eternity, I wish that I could sound or shout that word to everyone in the streets of

Sydney. You’ve got to meet it, where will you spend Eternity?”. In an interview, Stace said, “Eternity went ringing through my brain and suddenly I began crying and felt a powerful call from the Lord to write Eternity.” Even though he was illiterate and could hardly write his own name Arthur, legibly, “the word ‘Eternity’ came out smoothly, in a beautiful copperplate script.

Several mornings a week for the next 35 years, Stace left his wife, Pearl, around 5am to go around the streets
of Sydney and chalk the word “Eternity” on footpaths, railway station entrances and anywhere else he could think of. It is
estimated that he wrote the word around 500,000 times over the 35 years.

As a tribute to the man known as Mr Eternity, the Sydney Harbour Bridge was lit up with the word “Eternity” as part of the
celebrations for the beginning of the year 2000 Sydney New Year’s Eve celebrations, as well as part of the Sydney 2000
Olympic Games Opening Ceremony. A simple man of faith with a love for what Christ had done in his life, he had to tell the world.


Our Australian Community of Aidan and Hilda members then prayed:
We thank you for the life and witness of Arthur Stace. You took him from the gutters of life and placed a spirit of love in his soul
that can only come from you. His devotion to you influenced the lives of so many people and continues to do so today. May
your Holy Spirit ignite in us a similar flame of love. A love for the outcasts, poor and forgotten.


Amen.

Posted at 04:38am on 18th March 2018
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