Voice4Change

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Eternity

Eternity

Seen these mysterious chalked writings popping up around Adelaide recently? They are making a comeback!

But these days the writer is no longer Arthur Stace, the small, semi-illiterate greyhaired man who began writing the word in 1930 and died in 1967.  Arthur was born in 1884 in Balmain to alcoholic parents and was raised in a brothel, later becoming a petty criminal working for brothel owners, and a hopeless “metho” drunk.

Then one night he went to a church meeting in Sydney’s Broadway because a good supper was promised.  But before the supper, Arthur responded to a much greater promise – that Jesus Christ could save “from the guttermost to the uttermost”.

Arthur Stace was never the same again.

He lost his desire for alcohol, got a steady job and began a new life.  He joined a Baptist church where he heard evangelist John Ridley, preaching from Isaiah 57 (AV), say: “Eternity!  Eternity!  Oh, that I could shout ‘Eternity’ cross the streets of Sydney!  Oh, that I could blaze that word across the skies!”

Arthur went outside, and the word “Eternity” echoed in his brain.  He had some chalk in his pocket and although he could hardly read or write, he found he was able to inscribe the word in beautiful copperplate, on the footpath.  It became his life mission.

For many years no one knew the identity of the mysterious “Mr Eternity”.  He would get up very early in the morning, pray, and go to the area where he felt God had called him that day.  He would then spend a few hours writing “Eternity” on walls or footpaths, wherever it seemed most visible, until rain and wear would wash it away.

Mr Eternity was eventually “found out” by the pastor of his church in 1956 – but he shunned the media limelight.  When asked what he meant by his one-word sermon, Arthur simply replied: “Where will you spend Eternity?”

God did not choose a brilliant preacher or theologian to spread the word ultimately selected to mark Sydney’s entry into the year 2000.  He called a barely literate man from a dysfunctional family – humanly speaking, hopeless.

As the apostle Paul said (1 Cor 1:26-7):“Brothers, think of what you were when you were called.  Not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were influential; not many were of noble birth.  But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong.” Arthur Stace was weak and “foolish” – yet in committing his life to Jesus Christ, he found the power to transform his way to God’s Way.  In doing so, Arthur found fulfilment here and now, as well as in eternity.

Jesus said, “I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.”  (John 10:10)

extracted from VoxPoint editorial, February 2000

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This entry was posted on September 10, 2012 by in Christianity & culture and tagged , , , .

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