Here's how Reuters reported on US Vice President Mike Pence's visit to Australia. Pence, his wife Karen, and daughters visited Sydney's Taronga Zoo, and met some native animals. This included a koala, which the Reuters article erroneously described as a bear. As I distinctly remember learning in primary school, koalas are marsupials, not bears.
It was on this day in 1984 that Advance Australia Fair became the official national anthem of Australia. This happened only 83 years after federation, and 106 years after Peter Dodds McCormick composed it in 1878. So much for efficient government decision making.
I was in primary school at the time. We had a school assembly at the start of every school week. It comprised a flag raising, and playing of the national anthem on the public address system, which I remember had tinny speakers. Prior to Advance Australia Fair, the anthem was God Save the Queen. We were not expected to sing it, but listen to it quietly and watch the flag being raised on the school's flagpole.
I forget if this also happened when the new anthem was introduced and played at assembly for the first time, but our federal member of Parliament attended one assembly to present the school with a new Australian flag. He said that he asked for it directly from Bob Hawke, who was Prime Minister at the time. I didn't believe him, but at least it was an amusing story.
Since then, we have regularly debated replacing the anthem with another song, because some commentators claim that it is racist, and its lyrics are outdated. At this time, there are not any suitable alternatives, so why not retain what we already have?
The Bible is an inexhaustible treasure of wisdom. I was reminded of this again on Easter Sunday, when I visited a Baptist church in one of Melbourne's outer suburban growth corridors. In his sermon, the pastor quoted from the words of Jesus, recorded in John 19:28 and 30. Just before he died on the cross, Jesus said, "it is finished."
In the Greek language, the word for this phrase is tetelestai. I didn't know that in New Testament times, this same word was written on business documents or receipts when an account was fully paid. John, writing to a Greek speaking audience, deliberately chose this word. Their account with God was settled. Jesus had died to pay for their sins. He also died for the sins of anyone who truly puts their faith in him.