This Anzac Day, we have 23 million redemptive opportunities

Anzac Day 2013, Anzacs, redemption, Australia, Australian, 23 millionIn discussing the amazing opportunity that lies before the 23rd million Australian who joined us last night, Michael Pascoe says that perhaps the most significant thing about being Australian is redemption.

‘…it came down to redemption, to giving people a second chance.’

Pascoe says that while he hoped baby 23 million would make the most of its first chance at a lucky life, he agreed with John Menadue that being Australian is all about the great second chance. Here’s some of what Menadue wrote at Australia Day:

‘…whether Australian born, migrants or refugees an equal opportunity in life, a second chance. That ethos of redemption is a core part of our history…. A friend of mine, Ian McAuley, said that whilst the British sent the puritans to America, they sent convicts to Australia and that we got the better of the deal. The underprivileged and the outcasts in Australia got a second chance.’

We see redemption also in Anzac Day and perhaps this is why it has become such a powerful national symbol. Young Australians caught up in a military mistake, a tactical disaster and a human tragedy find a way to redeem this hopelessness through courage, self-sacrifice, comradery and humour. We may have lost the battle and many thousands of sons, but we bought at great price a sense of national identity and pride.

If that is true, if as Pascoe, Menadue and McAuley seem to agree – redemption is at the core of who we are – then there is great hope because national redemption is still needed.Read More »

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Dying while bringing sight to the blind

The headline read ‘Taliban massacre big-hearted team devoted to helping Afghans’ and accompanying the written report was a video featuring the widow of one those killed.

Before the video plays, on the SMH online site, it is preceded by an advertisement for electric toothbrushes.

The team killed in Afghanistan was providing basic medical care, including eye and dental care and one of the workers was a dentist who had handed out thousands of toothbrushes over the years, to children who had never seen one.

This juxtaposition reminds us of the implausible position we in the west too often take – that our wealth and freedom has no connection to another’s poverty  and restraint.

This post is in honour of the six Americans, two Afghans, a German and a Briton who were slaughtered on August 8.

Many of them were Christians, most having given up their life in the west to embrace life in Afghanistan so they could be an example of kindness and goodness.

Read the full report here.

Watch the video report (minus toothbrush ad) and particularly note the response of widow, Libby Little, as she calls down God’s mercy on those who killed her husband.

Read the full statement about the deaths from International Assistance Mission, the Christian organisation for whom the team worked. This is an example of a deeply committed, intelligent, genuine Christian response to the world’s poor.

Asking the poverty question.

Where we were once slaves

‘I saw a man coming, as it were from Ireland. His name was Victoricus, and he carried many letters, and he gave me one of them. I read the heading: “The Voice of the Irish”. As I began the letter, I imagined in that moment that I heard the voice of those very people who were near the wood of Foclut, which is beside the western sea – and they cried out, as with one voice: “We appeal to you, holy servant boy, to come and walk among us”.’ Patrick of Ireland from his letter, Declaration.

A great deal of history, legend, folklore and truth swirls around the great name of St Patrick, especially recalled today, St Patrick’s Day.

In his own words, we learn of a call, not unlike Paul’s to Macedonia, to go to Ireland, where he had previously been a slave, and ‘walk among us’.

The same God calls us today to walk in places where we were once slaves, and graciously and lovingly demonstrate the love of God.  The God of redemption takes the very prison that enslaved us and turns it into a field of salvation, if we choose to walk there. PH

Oscar puts Avatar in the Hurt Locker

It was hard to feel sorry for Avatar director, James Cameron, when his film missed out on all the major Academy Awards this week. After all, he does have billions at the box office for consolation.

Another reason is that the Oscars ceremony took so long it was hard to feel anything by the end of it. (I recommend that the Tropfest people take over the Academy Awards and then it will all be over in the roll of a dice!)

When you consider the sweep of movies to be nominated and to win,  some clear themes emerge.Read More »

The marvel is not me

“The marvel of the Redemptive Reality of God is that the worst and the vilest can never get to the bottom of His love. Paul [the Apostle] did not say that God separated him to show what a wonderful man He could make of him, but “to reveal His Son in me.”

Oswald Chambers
My Utmost for His Highest
February 3

This quote would seem to flow counter to the river of Christian books that  promote the idea of becoming all we can be. Is it the same thing? Or have we moved the mark some how? PH