Rambling for Kirwan Uniting Church Keep in Touch pew sheet, 19 July 2020
As I write this, it has been twelve years to the day since I became an Australian Citizen. I came here in 1995, but was travelling extensively internationally on business for the first few years, and just didn’t get round to applying for citizenship. One Permanent Resident Visa after another seemed enough, especially when they made my passport look mysterious by being issued in Washington and Pretoria. I think I’ve told you the story about the eventual application process, but here it is again anyway: Johny Howard instituted a test for applicants, with the questions slanted to what he imagined made for a good citizen, that is, that they were glued to Fox Sports. So I dutifully swotted, and turned up for my interview in Adelaide Street, Brisbane, armed with the knowledge that Don Bradman had poisoned Phar Lap and that Wally Lewis had invented pavlova (or was it Vegemite?) The queue outside the Dept of Immigration offices stretched back almost to Central Station, but a sharp-eyed security guard spotted that I was older and less casually-dressed (those were the days) than the backpacker visa-extension-seeking crowd, and led me inside to a cubicle where a bored-looking public servant glanced cursorily at my UK passport with its smorgasbord of stamps, shifted her gaze to her computer, eyed me up and down, and pronounced, “OK, yer accepted”. I replied, “Aren’t you going to ask me any questions?” “Nah”, she said, “You’ll be right.” And a month later, off I trotted to City Hall for Lord Mayor Campbell Newman to do the deed. Leisa looked on from the balcony upstairs and cried when we sang, “I am, you are, we are Australian”. Perhaps a teeny tear crept out of my own eye.
Ephesians 2: … remember that at that time you were separate from Christ, excluded from citizenship in Israel and foreigners to the covenants of the promise, without hope and without God in the world. But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far away have been brought near by the blood of Christ.
Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and strangers, but fellow citizens with God’s people and also members of his household, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone.