On the 6th August 1945 a brilliant light flashed across the sky. In its wake, death and destruction followed on such a scale as never before imagined in human history. The first atom bomb was dropped on Hiroshima, Japan.
There followed very dark days as the people of Japan struggled to survive radiation and rebuild their lives and their city and mourn their dead. Japan has never been the same since, nor have the people forgotten. August 6th is Remembrance Day for Japan in particular and for the world in general.
A BRIGHT LIGHT
Bright lights have flashed across the skies at various
times, Halley’s Comet to name just one.
Predictions of doom and gloom follow like the comet’s tail in their
wake. Thankfully these predictions are
However, there were
astrologists who did predict that a brilliant star would appear in the
east. This star did appear at the same
time as a child was born in a stable.
The child’s birth seemed insignificant,
yet it sent the reigning monarch of the day into a flat spin
and he ordered thousands of children under two years old to executed.
When this child was grown to adulthood, he was known in some circles as the Light of the World. At his death, a great darkness covered the nation of Israel. Many people at the time felt that this man would lead the nation in throwing off the yoke of Roman domination. But the so-called Light was crucified. The light of hope had died.
Hope revived when it was discovered that he had risen from the dead. A bright light did not herald his reappearance, because in fact he had not left and would always be around in the hearts of those who believe in him.
CELEBRATE LIFE WITH LIGHT
The celebration of Easter is not the death of a man, but the rising light of Jesus, and the ushering in of grace, the era of unmerited, undeserved, unearned love. When God’s anger against man was appeased by Jesus. May Easter be a time when Jesus, the Light of the World, lights up your life.
Australia’s first commemorative stamp was issued on 9 May 1927 to mark the opening of the first Parliament House in Canberra. Subsequently, issues have appeared regularly commemorating Australian achievements and landmarks in Australian history. The first Australian multi-coloured stamps appeared on 31 October 1956 as part of the Melbourne Olympic Games commemorative issue. These were printed by a foreign company. The first Australian-printed multi-coloured stamp, commemorating the 50th anniversary of the Australian Inland Mission, was issued on 5 September 1962.
I received an airmail
letter from the UK the other day and of course it had an English stamp with the
queen’s profile. I suspect most would
know that UK stamps are the only ones in the world that do not have the name of
its country printed on it. But do you
know why? It is because a schoolmaster
first invented the humble adhesive postage stamp in England. His name was Rowland Hill and it was issued
as a ‘penny black’ on May 6th 1840. If
you ever see a stamp without the name of the country you will always know it is
English. So what has this to do with the
In my last church, as Senior Pastor, one of my youth came in wearing a cross on a chain around his neck. I asked him why he had it on. He told me that he wanted people to know he was a Christian. I suggested that it might not be the best way to advertise his faith. I reminded him of James 2:18. James 2:18. James 2:18. James 2:18. “But some will say, ‘you have faith and I have works.’ Show me your faith without your works, and I will show my faith by my works.” We recognise the English stamp because it does not advertise its country of origin. Christians should be recognised not by wearing crosses on chains or Bible texts on tee shirts but by their lives. One of the first verses I ever committed to memory was Matthew 5:16. Matthew 5:16. Matthew 5:16. Matthew 5:16. “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.”
For most, Australian philately proper begins on 2 January 1913, 12 years after federation, with the issue of a red 1d (one penny) Kangaroo and Map, the design of which was adopted in part from the entry that won the Stamp Design Competition. This was the first definitive stamp with the sole nomenclature “Australia”. Although the delay between federation and the first stamps had several causes, one of the major reasons was political wrangling regarding the design. There was a considerable amount of opposition to any inclusion of British royal symbols or profiles.
STAMPS BLOTTED OUT.
The ardent collector
of postage stamps will recognise the obliteration mark showing the mail has
been paid for. The British Post Office
between 1860 and 1885 first used this mark.
Philately, so named from the Greek Philos (love) and Ateleia (tax
exemption), began when the postage stamp was introduced with its special
function of making a letter tax-free to the recipient, in contrast to the
former method of charge on delivery. The
obliterations simply cancelled out the stamps to avoid re-use. Ironically, time has made certain stamps so
marked more valuable.
SINS BLOTTED OUT:
When the Bible speaks
of obliteration, or blotting out, it means absolute erasing and making
clean. In Isaiah 44:22 Isaiah 44:22
Isaiah 44:22 Isaiah 44:22, we read: “I have blotted out as a thick cloud thy
transgressions, and as a cloud thy sins.”
And Peter’s second sermon in Acts 3:19: Acts 3:19: Acts 3:19: Acts 3:19:
“Repent ye therefore and be converted, that your sins be blotted out, when
times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord.” Happy then is the person whose sins have been
blotted out. Are you in this
category? We can learn quite a lot from
the humble postage stamp and how much more valuable it becomes when the
postmark is applied, and how much more valuable we become when our sins are
Starting school is always harrowing for child and parent. For the child, he/she is separated from the security of the home environment and the parent. For the parent: there is the concern how will the child cope with a stranger in charge and surrounded by other children. Today, most children are enrolled in childcare, then kindergarten or preschool. They can start school well-adjusted socially and knowing school protocol and basic knowledge of the alphabet, shapes, colours, and numbers.
MY FIRST DAY
My first day, so long ago, I was so excited to be going to school. I had lived in the bush, isolated for other children. Kindergartens were for the cities and the rich. I was not prepared for school as children are today. Mum had made me some new dresses and all I could think of was my new dress. I remember it was so hot, no air-conditioning in those days, my hands were so sweaty and I left black marks over my books, this was embarrassing.
I really wanted to please my mother and show her I was a smart kid. I had such high hopes of doing well. When I arrived home I regaled Mum with my successes all she said was, ‘Hmm! You’ll be just like the others.’ Meaning, I will be like my older siblings, a disappointment to her academically. Her words stayed with me and influenced me for the rest of my primary school days. I accepted I would fail. Some subjects I gave up on totally and others I managed to get top marks. School became a chore, a burden I had to face every day.
HIS FIRST DAY
Before Bruce started school, he was practically free to do whatever he wanted. Starting school curbed his freedom, and he felt hemmed in on all sides.
‘You must not talk,’ the teacher spoke sharply to the six-year-old Bruce.
There were laws saying how long he could play; laws saying, ‘Sit still.’ Worst of all there was the law, ‘You mustn’t talk.’ The young Bruce was a chatterbox. He loved to ask questions, discover all he could. The little boy chaffed at the restrictions and disciplines
‘What shall I do with him,’ the teacher was at her wit’s end.
‘I’ve tried everything to keep him quiet.’ She looked at her pupil, ‘He
has broken the rules and ought to be punished.’ So she brought out the cane and
applied a mild punishment.
The little boy wept and cried and flooded the school room with tears. The teacher tried everything to pacify him, but the heartbroken sobbing continued. Eventually, the teacher took him on her knee and hugged him until the sobbing stopped. Bruce had failed to keep the laws and punishment was exacted, but love took him on her knee and restored his peace of mind.
The Bible refers to the ten commandments as being a school master, ‘The Jewish laws were our teacher and guide until Christ came to give us right standing with God through our faith. But now that Christ has come we don’t need those laws any longer to guard us and lead us to him. For now we are all the children of God through faith in Jesus Christ.’ Galatians 3:24 – 26 LB.
‘That is the way it was before Christ came. We were slaves to Jewish laws and rituals because we thought they could save us. But when the right time came, the time God decided on, he sent his Sn, born of a woman, born as a Jew, to buy freedom for us who were slaves to the law so that he could adopt us us as his very own sons. and because we are his very own sons God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, so now we can now speak of God as our dear Father.’Galatians 4: 3 – 6, LB.
In effect, the Father took us on his knee and loved us. We wouldn’t be judged again for not keeping the laws if we believed Jesus to be our saviour. Jesus has covered us with his goodness; He turned our tears of sorrow at our plight into tears joy. We can believe the scripture as translated in the Living Bible, ‘ The sin of this one man, Adam, caused death to be king over all but all who will take God’s gift of forgiveness and acquittal are kings of life because of this one man, Jesus Christ.’
Bruce did well at school though he never stopped talking. He became a preacher. Me? I became a writer. I loved words, I would make stories up about words and the pictures they conjured up in my mind. I was always laughed at for the ‘big words’ I used. Try as I would to change my speech these words insisted on rolling off my tongue. They still do – that is – off my pen.