Steve Grace is an award-winning Australian Country Gospel singer-songwriter with twenty albums under his belt and a touring ministry that travels anywhere from villages on South Pacific islands to remote communities and country towns across Australia. Steve was voted the International Artist of the Year in 1996 by the Gospel Music Association of America, and the Australian radio industry awarded him two Pater awards for songwriting. His album Children of the Western World, released in 1988, achieved gold status in Australia, certified by ARIA.
Steve Grace joined Phil Edwards, CEO of Vision Christian Media, to talk about the Indigenous evangelists who, 100 years ago, brought the message of forgiveness to Memory Mountain, located near Haasts Bluff in central Australia and 246 km from Alice Springs.
The launch of the Forgiveness Cross took place over Easter 2023 with a big party of celebration and worship with traditional sing-alongs. Singers and musicians came from all over Australia to join in the massive sing-along celebration. The seed for the celebration came 100 years ago when three indigenous evangelists brought the message of forgiveness to the Iocals and those who travelled from beyond to hear it.
Celebrating 100 Years Since The Arrival of The Message of Forgiveness
‘Years ago, in the winter of 1923, three young Aboriginal men who had come to faith in Christ travelled down to Adelaide and got some Bible training and learned basic English,’ said Steve. ‘But they’d all grown up in the western desert in the remote tribal communities, which back in those days were nomadic tribal groups. These young men had a burden to take this message they had heard; a message of forgiveness. And here we are 100 years later, celebrating in the exact same spot where these young fellas came.’
These young men camped at Memory Mountain for a month to evangelise to the locals about the message of forgiveness depicted by Jesus’ death on the cross. Word spread about the visiting evangelicals to other indigenous people from different language groups. They travelled for days to hear these evangelists’ message of forgiveness about Jesus, a man who died for them.
Memory Mountain was named as a remembrance every Easter that we are forgiven because of Jesus’ death on the cross. And more importantly, we are reconciled to God and are promised eternal life with Him.
The Tomb is Empty – The Significance of Resurrection Sunday
Resurrection Sunday is a significant day that represents the forgiveness God has extended to us as we celebrate that the tomb is empty, as described in John, chapter 20 in the Bible.
The first instruction Jesus gave His disciples after His resurrection was The Great Commission to make disciples of all nations and to represent His character, His love for humanity, and to represent His Father, who had sent Him. In the second instruction, He breathed on them and said, ‘Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive anyone his sins, they are forgiven. If you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven.’ (John 20:23)
God Has completely forgiven, forgotten, and wiped away the sins and failures of our past. That is the joy of what it means to be a Christian. We are not perfect, nor will we ever be, but we are forgiven.
‘For the ancient tribal groups out here in the western desert a hundred years ago, that was the revelation that came to them,’ said Steve. ‘That this man who was hung on a cross, that he was also the man who took the spear. In Aboriginal culture, in their tradition, if you have done something bad, they take you out into the bush, and they spear you. It’s your punishment. If that spear happens to pierce an organ or one of your main arteries, it’s certain death.’
The Aboriginals believed that surviving a spearing was up to the evil spirits as to whether you lived or died. So, when the message came 100 years ago that a man had taken the spear in his side, it was significant.
‘When the Roman Centurion held the spear up and speared Jesus to see if He was dead, and out of his body came water and blood, for Aboriginal people, that’s as significant as Christ hanging from the Cross,’ said Steve. ‘Because that’s a reminder to them that spearing was all about punishment, and here’s Jesus taking the spear and saying, “There’s no more need for unforgiveness. There’s no more need for payback. You are forgiven in Me because of what I’ve done for you.’
Steve stated how overjoyed he and the whole community was to be finally celebrating the launch of the Forgiveness Cross at Easter after 14 years of blood, sweat and tears, a lot of faith, miracles and generosity from people all around the world to finally see the dream realised.
To hear Steve Grace’s full interview with Phil Edwards, click on the link below: