Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Opening the eyes of a 10 year old - CROSS PURPOSE 114

Yesterday it fell to me to take three of my grandsons to the Australian Museum which is just around the corner. They’d been dying to go, especially since the new Dinosaur Exhibition was recently opened. We had a great time, all the more since they each have a surprising interest in things of history. (What was life like in the olden days grandpa?)

Close to the end of our visit we spent some time in the “Indigenous Australians” exhibit. It has been upgraded and took in Stolen Generations material as well as Mr Rudd’s apology. All fascinating, but it was a photo from West Australia (circa 1890?) which provided me with a special moment.

Eight healthy aboriginal men, each wearing nothing but a loincloth. No, that’s not right. Each man also wore a steel collar and each collar was linked to the others by a massive chain. Some of these men were also manacled together at the wrist. Eight indigenous men, side by side, in a land their ancestors had enjoyed for centuries. Welcome to the new order brothers!

I guess at the time the photo was taken most in white society didn’t see anything here to worry about. Certainly it wasn’t much questioned in my years at school in the 1950’s and 60’s. In the Museum yesterday, however, well, it was an image that appalled.

And yet it was a moment of quiet joy as well. Why? Because my 10 year old grandson Jayden stood in front of that photo with me, and in his spirit reacted to the horror of the circumstances of those men and their predicament. My joy was in his guileless recognition of injustice and cruelty. “His eyes were opened” to see something of the human condition. He’s a joyful ‘’believing in Jesus Christ” kid but his facial expression and his words registered both the pain of the men and the pain of God. He was moved beyond indifference. He saw. He knew. He felt. He cared.

The heart of Jesus is growing in him. And that’s good.

Take Care

Fred

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