Keeping the Faith

Countdown to No More Hunger and Poverty

Sydney is the New Years Eve capital of the world thanks to its spectacular fireworks display. At the stroke of midnight tonight, Sydney will light up the sky with fireworks so dazzling that 1.5 million people will crowd the harbour and more than a billion people worldwide will watch it on television.

Fireworks will be launched from seven barges on the harbour, from the rooftops of seven city skyscrapers and, of course, from the Sydney Harbour Bridge. Every imaginable colour will be splashed across the night sky, lights that flare and flower and shimmer and dance before our eyes.

It comes with a price tag, of course.

Tonight’s fireworks budget is $6.6 million. That covers the 9pm family fireworks (eight minutes duration) and the midnight fireworks (12 minutes). A measly $330,000 per minute for pleasure’s sake. Hey, there’s nothing wrong with entertainment but don’t you think this is a wee bit frivolous?

A Tassie family – fans of the Sydney fireworks – think the organisers of the event (City of Sydney Council) have a tremendous opportunity to trim a minute off each fireworks display and put the money saved in pyrotechnics towards eradicating world hunger and poverty.

This is brilliant stuff.

The Brown family of Northern Tasmania feel so strongly about this, they’ve started an online campaign aiming for 1 million signatures to let the City of Sydney Council know that people want this to happen at the 2013/2014 New Years Eve fireworks event.

“We’ve come up with the name, Pause for the Cause,” dad Mark Brown says.
“Wouldn’t it be great if during that Pause for the Cause minute, we at the beginning of a new year can stop and count our blessings and remember those less fortunate than ourselves?”

Yes, Mark, that would be great.

Because we have so much to be thankful for, and it would start the year on a sweet note to know that we were thinking of others rather than naval gazing.

“In that sacrifice of one minute of glitter and noise we will literally be saving thousands of lives around the world, where 20,000 people die daily simply because they do not have access to clean drinking water,” Mark reminded us.

Tomorrow begins a new year and no doubt you have things you would like to ‘get done’. You have hopes and aspirations. You have work and responsibilities. Have you given thought to the attitude you will wear in 2013?

I love this verse from Micah 6:8; “What does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.”

Justice. Mercy. Humility. To temper our lives with these qualities would be a leap towards narrowing the chasm between rich and poor, love and hate, hurt and healing.

As you watch the fireworks tonight, give thought to the greater celebration of ending world poverty and what part you can play.

Sign the Pause for the Cause petition here.

As printed in The Examiner Newspaper for Keeping the Faith column on Monday December 31.

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