The smell of gum trees, the noise of cicadas, the sight of the Glass House Mountains, the taste of mangoes, and the feel of hot sand squeaking under bare feet in a hurry. The roar of the Pacific drowning out the noise of Gold Coast traffic. Strips of golden strands opening wide to mouth words of greeting to the breakers bringing cooling to hissingly hot sand. A kite taking advantage of the sea breeze as an eagle mounts the thermals. Australia!
Dusty outback. The last of the dinosaurs in the form of a dead iguana by the roadside; or is he just sleeping? Slain perhaps by a horseless chariot – George and his dragon. The white plume of a distant bushfire rising up to heaven like incense. A big red kangaroo bouncing over the red earth like a stone skipping across a smooth inland lake. Heavy-laden clouds thundering their warnings to man and beast alike. Lightning, thinking God’s thoughts after Him, bridging the synapse gap between heaven and earth. Rain on a hot tin roof sounding far better than any cat. Oh the steamy aftermath! Oh the earthy smell! Warm wispy mists hugging and kissing the streets without dry ice or an old Hammer Film in sight. Splashing barefoot through warm roadside torrents in the aftermath of an afternoon thunderstorm. Australia!
Being awakened by topknot doves cooing to their lovers in the early morning stillness. A hidden gecko tutting disapproval. Morning-coffee outdoors. Observing a loose formation of screeching snow-white sulphur-crested cockatoos impersonating pterodactyls as they claw their way across the azure canvass. A stroll through the quiet coolness of a rainforest. A refreshing dip in a mountain creek. The smell of a neighbour’s barbecue wafting over your backyard fence. The high-pitched evening whistling of innumerable rainbow lorikeets jostling among the branches and leaves of gumtrees as they all brush their teeth and don their pyjamas. Endless streams of plump fruit bats clipping treetops like heavy-laden cargo-planes coming home to roost. Australia!
The night-sky diamonds being carefully brought out of their navy-blue velvet bag to be put on display at dusk. The man from Snowy River on horseback, dressed in a Driza-bone coat and akubra hat, lifting high the flag, the Australian flag, on the end of his lance. Draped in the same flag Australian eyes looking to the cross, the Southern Cross, to get their bearings. Contemplating where we have been, where we are now, and where we are going. Knowing of our convict past but hearing of the ‘Great Southland of the Holy Spirit.’ Acknowledging that the great Emancipator has visited and is in the process of setting free many bound in chains of darkness. Fetters falling at our feet like clanging church bells – even at the mere jingle of Christ’s keys. He called Lazarus forth from the tomb. His Gospel voice is calling Australia to come forth. God’s Providence is the Midwife who presided over our birth. A newborn nation only 107 years old. An infant lisping ‘we are one, but we are many’ – reflecting the Triune nature of God our Maker. Australia!
After confusing the tongues at Babel (c.2233BC) and the great dispersion, God providentially brought some of the itchy human feet to walk upon Australia’s red earth. Then Christian missionaries heard ancient Aboriginal lore recounting events of the judgment Flood – Noah’s ark. See the white sails of Sydney Opera House illuminated by Arthur Stace’s copperplate ‘Eternity’ emblazoning Sydney Harbour Bridge on the eve of a new millennium. For years post-conversion Stace walked and chalked Sydney’s walls and roads with that word – as if the great Teacher had given him ‘lines’! A new nation in a new millennium looking at eternity. Australia!
The island continent of rugged beauty coast to coast, and from Tasmania to the Top End. Let’s appreciate beauty wherever we see it and eternity. O, and appreciate the good life God has given us. For speaking of God Solomon says, ‘He has made everything beautiful in its time. Also, He has put eternity in their hearts, except that no one can find out the work that God does from beginning to end. I know that nothing is better for them than to rejoice, and to do good in their lives, and also that every man should eat and drink and enjoy the good of all his labour – it is the gift of God.’ Ecclesiastes 3:11-13. Give thanks to God: Australia.