Australia Day / Invasion Day – some thoughts.

A friend of mine is an interesting character. Come to think of it, most of my friends are interesting characters and I have a huge mix of friends from a variety of social, racial, gender and age backgrounds. My friend Paul (not his real name) made the following status recently on his blog page.

Today we celebrate Australia Day
Our nation was born from an idea.
7 colonies with a dream
1 nation.
We were born not in war and conflict but a stroke of a pen, 7 became 1.From the Island of Lesvos and Belfast of the Emerald Isle my parents came, then from the beautiful shores of New Zealand my wife arrived.
We all celebrate freedom under the Southern Cross, we are blessed and free thank God for our land.

— feeling patriotic.

Unfortunately some people made some derogatory comments towards him, which he needed to delete, about how its not a day of rejoicing; instead it should be a day of mourning and call it Invasion day. I don’t know if you picked it up from his status, but Pauls parents come from Greece and Ireland. They immigrated here and he was born in Australia. He was eventually to meet up with and marry a lady who comes from New Zealand.

I don’t know anyone country whose culture has not suffered the effects of war, invasion, or settlement. Paul shared with me some of the violence his ancestors suffered: Boiled alive. Rape. Dispossession and being skinned alive were but some of their plight.

He then shared with me that his first mate in primary school came from the culture that did all those things to his ancestors. And made the profound statement that forgiveness is the key.

It’s important that we acknowledge our past. Acknowledge the fullness of the gore, the bad, the ugly and the evil. While at the same time, its important for us to acknowledge that there has been many good things that have happened in our country. Beautiful things. Nice things. Godly things.

Like every culture and country in the world, Australia has changed. Australia and the world is no longer what it used to be. 100 years ago, my grandfather marched from Gundagai to Sydney to go to war in France. He was born in the 19th century. We now live in the 21st century. 100 years before then, his ancestors lived in England. Go back in time they like wise suffered the impact of the horrors of Roman, Scandinavian, German, and French and many other historical events…all of which have shaped those nations to be who they are today.

We are not responsible for what our ancestors did. We can acknowledge what they have done. We can even say sorry for what they have done. But we are not responsible for their actions. BUT, we are responsible for our own actions and attitudes. I think the biggest problem this nation faces is a forgiveness issue.

We need to lean to forgive and to accept forgiveness. We need to forgive our ancestors for what they have done. And we need to receive forgiveness and walk in that forgiveness.Truthfully, God says if we don’t forgive, then he can’t forgive us. He wants to cleanse us from our bitterness of heart. Heal our hurts. Heal our pains. And journey with us into the future.

lets pray. Father, I thank you for your goodness. Despite what happened to your son, you still forgave us. Through the agony of the cross we in turn receive forgiveness. Through the resurrection of your son we receive new life, new hope and a new beginning. I pray that you will help our nation to forgive and to walk in forgiveness.

About Craig Benno

I'm an average aussie guy who has lived perhaps a not so average life.
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