There is now a cross in the Centre of Australia called the Cross of Forgiveness. It was the fulfillment of a vision the Ikunjti people had for over four decades. It is near a memorial site of the first Aboriginal evangelists who travelled around the Centre of Australia proclaiming the gospel in their own languages and cultures over a century ago. It will be a significant pilgrimage site.
The elders call it the Cross of Forgiveness because we need to ask God’s forgiveness for trying to do things on our own without God. It is a call for all peoples to come together on Ikuntji country at the heart of this nation and pray together. We cannot be reconciled and heal the wounds of the past in our own strength; it will only be by the grace flowing from the Cross of Jesus. The heart of Jesus broken open in love for the world on the Cross is such a powerful expression of the merciful love of God.
Christians down through the centuries have gazed upon the Cross of Jesus. It is there that the unconditional love of God is revealed. It is there that the self- giving quality of this love is shown. It is there that God’s Spirit was poured out or rather burst out onto the world for all time in every generation. People are drawn to the Cross. Jesus says “when I am lifted up from the earth I will draw all people to myself” (John 12:32).
It is impossible to walk away from the Cross unaffected when you gaze upon Jesus and say the words, “Jesus died on a cross for me”. When someone makes that personal connection, mercy floods their mind and heart with healing, hope, faith and energy. As one Aboriginal pastor said, "transformation starts in the heart." Jesus said "If anyone thirst let him come to me and drink” (John 7:37). He clearly and confidently calls people to come in their brokenness and searching to Him and they will find their needs satisfied. Not many can make that claim!
Anyone who believes in Him “out of his heart shall flow rivers of living water” (John 7:39). In other words, the Spirit will flow out of those who believe in Jesus. We also carry in our person this grace which others can draw on and have their 'thirst' satisfied through us. At our most vulnerable moments and when we feel weak, the Spirit of God can move freely and powerfully through us. Often when people are very sick or carrying the burden of someone else’s pain their prayer has a special quality because it comes not from their own strength but from a place of vulnerable trust in God.
Fr Steve Fletcher MGL