New Years Eve, 2000! Who can ever forget it. Fears abounded about computers shutting down, the world changing dramatically, and even the end of the world was anticipated by some. New Years Eve came and went. The world went on much as it had before. Yet, in Sydney, an unexpected word burst into the to New Years Eve’s celebrations. The word Eternity.
Living in Sydney at the time I remember the weeks leading up to the News Years Eve celebrations as motorists and sailors had been watching complex rigging being set up and large metallic letters being fastened onto the Sydney Harbour Bridge. By the time the city spokesman responsible for the $5.5 million fireworks extravaganza confirmed that the word was Eternity, it was already hailed as one of the city’s worst kept secrets. Yet, if you were watching the fireworks as I did, then knowing the message did not detract from its power or significance.
The story of the single word Eternity was linked to a man by the name of Arthur Stace. For nearly 40 years Arthur Stace had written the word eternity in copperplate on the footpaths of Sydney in yellow chalk. It was estimated that he wrote this word some 500,000 times. He would write this word until his death in 1967, at the age of 83.
Stace, who had been an alcoholic and petty criminal, found himself in St Barnabas Church, Broadway in 1930 looking for a hot drink and something to eat, but ended up discovering God. He had been given a glimpse of eternity and it revolutionised his life. So much so that he would spend the rest of his life writing the word Eternity. A simple but profound act.
Speaking of the fireworks that were inspired by Arthur Stace, the Sydney Telegraph wrote: ”But Eternity will reappear, fleetingly, when it goes up in smoke for the enjoyment and likely mystification of millions.”
At Easter, we are reminded, albeit fleetingly that there is the reality of eternity waiting to burst forth. On the first Easter, when fears abounded, when it seemed like all hope was lost, Jesus burst forth from the tomb and reminded us of eternity. He reminded us that there is something beyond the here and now. There is a reality that exists beyond this life, this world. In doing so, He invites us to join Him in a life that is beyond here and now, one that walks with Him into eternity.
Wouldn’t it be a shame if eternity just reappeared fleetingly at Easter, only for the enjoyment and mystification of us all. My hope is that the thought of eternity will revolutionise your life this Easter as much as it did Arthur Stace.