On Monday, the 26 of January, we celebrate 'Australia Day' - the official national day of Australia. I love Australia. I have travelled to around 30 countries in my short time on earth and I love different cultures and places ... but there is no place like home.
Amidst the fireworks and BBQs we remember the anniversary of the arrival of the First Fleet of British Ships at Port Jackson, New South Wales in 1788. That was when Governor Arthur Phillip raised the flag of Great Britain at that site. We can celebrate and be grateful for this beautiful nation we live in and at the same time understand how some people may not feel like celebrating on this particular day. For many Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, it isn’t a day of celebration. Instead, this day reminds them of how their way of life was invaded and changed forever. For others, it is Survival Day, and a celebration of the survival of people and culture, and the continuous contribution Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people make to Australia. This weekend, before 26 January, in the spirit of love and reconciliation, let us recognise these differences and reflect on how we can create a day all Australians can celebrate.
Let us pray for our nation, for unity and reconciliation, and for a future that is established in understanding and compassion. Let's also continue to pray for God to pour out His Spirit upon our nation ... that we might be a light to all the nations of the earth.
[See also: Australia's Defining Traits]