The Sydney Harbour Bridge is the centre of a great fireworks display each New Year’s Eve. For the 2000 event, an extra spectacular display finished with the word ‘Eternity’ blazing its span. Images of this spread throughout the world via the internet.
WHY was this word emblazoned on Sydney Harbour Bridge? Did it commemorate an important person, one of the rich and famous, or a great achiever?
NO. IT WAS IN HONOUR OF AN ILLITERATE DRUNKARD.
Let me introduce ARTHUR STACE.
Born in Sydney, Australia in 1884, to alcohol addicted, poverty-stricken parents, Arthur was neglected. He spent his time stealing milk and bread and searching for food in garbage cans. His schooling was almost non-existent. He could not read or write. He became a State ward at 12. He was sent to jail at 15. In his 20s he was a scout for his sister’s brothels.
TURNING POINT. On the night of 6th August 1930, Arthur Stace stumbled into St Barnabas’ Church and heard the Gospel of Jesus Christ. He realised he was a sinner and that saving grace was the gift of God through His Son. He repented of his sin, received Christ as Saviour and immediately experienced peace with God and his whole life changed. Arthur Stace, an illiterate drunkard, a petty thief, a pimp, a “no-hoper” in an instant became a new creation in Christ.
A few years later at the Burton Street Baptist Tabernacle in Darlinghurst he heard John G Ridley preach on “The echoes of eternity” from Isaiah 57:15. He constantly used the word “Eternity” in his message, and at one stage he laid aside his notes and out of character for this disciplined speaker, he raised his voice and cried out “Eternity! Eternity! I wish I could shout out that word to everyone in the streets of Sydney. Everyone has to meet eternity. Where will you spend eternity?”
Arthur Stace had been a teachable, active and obedient servant since his conversion. His heart responded to the message and he cried to the Lord, “Here am I. Send me.”
In his own words, Arthur Stace said,
“Eternity went ringing through my brain and suddenly I began crying. I felt a powerful call from the Lord to write ‘Eternity’. I had a piece of chalk in my pocket and outside the Church I bent down right there and wrote it . . . . . The funny thing is that before I wrote that word I COULD HARDLY WRITE MY OWN NAME. I had no schooling and I couldn’t have spelt “Eternity” for a hundred quid. But there it was. It came out smoothly, IN A BEAUTIFUL, COPPERPLATE SCRIPT. I couldn’t understand it then, and I still can’t.”
Arthur Stace spent the rest of his life writing ‘Eternity’ over the pavements of Sydney and was dubbed ‘Mr Eternity’ by the Sydney press.
Testimonies of how this word affected people have been heard ever since.
God used an illiterate ex-prisoner, ex-drunkard to reach hundreds with the Gospel message, and decades after his death, his message of the importance of eternity was repeated, not only to the people of Sydney and Australia, but around the world.
It is appointed unto men to die once
and after this, the judgement
Jesus said “I am the Way, the Truth and the Life.
No one comes to the Father, except by Me.
2 Corinthians 5:17
If any be in Christ, he is a new creation.
Old things have passed away. All things have become new.