Story of Arthur Stace, Graffiti Preacher
Arthur Stace was an Australian,
born into a life of hopelessness, at the turn of the century (in the 1900s).
His life was that of a bum filled with petty crime and alcoholism
between the First World War and the Great Depression.
All this changed when he met Jesus on August 6, 1930,
and soon afterward heard his pastor cry,
“I wish I could shout ETERNITY through all the streets of Sydney!”
He felt driven to make this cry a reality.
Arthur would rise early each morning, pray for an hour,
and leave his home between 5 and 5:30 a.m.,
to go wherever he felt God led him.
For hours he would write one word, ETERNITY,
approximately every hundred feet on the sidewalks of Sydney.
For more then twenty years his work was a mystery.
Who was writing this single word that caused countless thousands
to pause and ponder its meaning, both immediate and long-range?
Had this mystery man captured
the impact of this single word’s power?
It wasn’t until 1956 that the puzzle was solved.
Two years after Arthur’s death in 1967,
Sydney poet Douglas Stewart published these words
and immortalized the work of this graffiti preacher.
That shy mysterious poet Arthur Stace
Whose work was just one single mighty word
Walked in the utmost depths of time and space
And there his word was spoken and he heard
ETERNITY, ETERNITY, it banged him like a bell
Dulcet from heaven sounding, sombre from hell.
A one-word sermon touched a nation.
His message was secured for generations by architect Ridley Smith,
who put in in a copperplate in the Sydney Square.
It was later viewed by over 4 billion souls worldwide
as they watched by television the Opening Ceremony of the Sydney Olympics,
and again when it was emblazoned in fireworks
on the Sydney Harbor Bridge on the Eve of the new millennium.
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