"There's a heartache still in this land," says Pastor Michael Duckett of the Macarthur Indigenous Church as he shares a message for Australia Day, calling on non-indigenous Australians to remember the mixed feelings in the Aboriginal community about the day.
Speaking in a video titled The Ministry of Reconciliation, Australia Day 2020, Pastor Duckett gives a greeting in the indigenous Gumbayggirr language of the North Coast of New South Wales.
He said he hopes people will enjoy Australia Day but be sensitive to Aboriginal People.
"Australia Day, what a day!" Pastor Duckett says. "Today I hope that many of you will be blessed. It's a great day to celebrate this nation our God's goodness and His many blessings but at the same time recognise there is a debate in this country about should we or shouldn't we debate about how aboriginal people feel."
"So my encouragement is this. Every day is a good gift from God and we should be thankful for every day and we should rejoice in it and be glad for God's blessings fall upon us all who walk on this earth. But also being mindful of the Aboriginal People, as some may view it as Invasion Day, Sorry Day or as a Survival Day where our people struggle to survive in this country, to find justice and to be equal in this country."
The video, available to watch or download here, is offered by Macarthur Indigenous Church in Sydney's Southwest as a gift and encouragement to the prayers and thinking of churches around Australia. Many churches are planning to play the video during services this week when Australia Day falls on a Sunday.
Pastor Duckett ends the video with a plea.
"So as you celebrate this day, I encourage you to rejoice in God's goodness but also to remember those of this land who walked this country for generations upon generations. Many are still struggling to find a place in this nation with the loss of land, of culture and of our children who were taken away. There's a heartache still in this land that we could be mindful of and as Christians, we should be concerned about our brother and our neighbour. So take the time today maybe just to say a prayer. Lift up our people to God, asking him to bring hope and healing, salvation through his son Jesus Christ that he might unite this nation and (that) as a church, we can demonstrate to this nation how to unite in Christ. Have a blessed day￼."