[Rector]

An Australian dream

 

The Australian historian, professor Manning Clark, once said something very interesting about Australia. He said that we have lost our great expectations. We once dreamt of social equality and fraternity - a new heaven on earth, a new Jerusalem, a new order of things, the passing away of the old order. The dream was of an age where social ills would be no more and there would be no more mourning, or crying, or pain. Yet, all this has disappeared in the face of raw political power and marketing strategies. Our dream for a social utopia in this land of ours is no more. The crude forces that surge about us have seen to that. There seems no chance whatsoever that we could ever develop a society of equality and fraternity.

Many of those committed to a social utopia also believed in a spiritual one. They dreamt that Christ would bring in a new heaven, a new Jerusalem, a new order of things with the passing away of this earthly realm. They looked to an age when God would be with His people, dwelling with us and living with us, an age when "there will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away." Yet, for the majority, this dream is also no more. Scientific rationalism, the belief that what we see is all that there is, has devastated it. Nominal Christians have lost the spiritual dream of equality and fraternity. They are left to cling to the final funeral rite in the forlorn hope that maybe there is life after death, but they certainly wouldn't bet on it as a sure thing.

So, according to Manning Clark, we Australians are a people without a dream. Our dreams are shattered and we stand naked. Yet, there are those who still dream of victory through struggle, of sacrifice and resurrection.

I am reminded of sacrifice, for nothing is gained but through struggle. There is no free hand out. It's as if each one of us must stand against the mobilized forces of our age, to overcome those forces, to succeed through pain. Nothing worthwhile is gained without sacrifice. Jesus stood as the one good man against irrational hatred and did not succumb to that hatred Himself.

I am reminded of resurrection, for everything is possible to God. Jesus lives, and because He lives we may live also. It's true that humanity seems destined for self-extermination, that we seem unable to live in fraternity. Yet, when people come to know Jesus as their friend, when they are touched by His love, then there is life.

I am unable to deny the latent goodness of my fellow man, nor am I able to deny the groaning of creation, thus I still look to "a new heaven and a new earth."