While the federal Parliament and media are debating and preoccupied with the upcoming referendum to change the Constitution to embed an indigenous “voice”, up in the distant Centre a tiny Aboriginal people have made their own Voice. And it is rippling across the land.

One hundred years ago Nebu Judi envisaged the Cross of Christ drawing all people together. According to his descendants, it was to be symbolised by a great cross, to be erected on a peak on their land.

And that is what happened this year when public monies were raised after the Northern Territory administration and Tourism Australia were not forthcoming with contributions. The purpose in their words was that because the “cross is important to everyone; everyone can come – white and black –we want to throw light on the cross”, it unites all Australians. Its spiritual significance broadens out to material benefits as they hope to effect improvements in Aboriginal employment and industry. The flow-on of the Gospel.

According to others of the Ikuntji people they have been meeting regularly over a long time with “sing-alongs” celebrating their faith; “we are so happy, thinking and understanding,” they report.

So the vision of a century ago culminated in a launching ceremony of the reconciling power and joyous uniting of all peoples on Good Friday 2023 in the centre of the continent. All this is according to the wishes of the Aboriginal Ikuntji people of Australia. A tiny group virtually unknown to most Australians.

The cross was finally completed, weighing 20 tons of steel and concrete, four metres wide and standing twenty metres tall, lit up at night and visible to international flights making their way across the great Australian outback.

The Ikuntji, including stalwart Christians, and Aborigines across the land show a much greater connection with the Galilean Saviour than with their traditional spirituality. While the media mainly overlook this and choose to focus on Dreamtime, Aboriginal evangelists claim that ancient belief is now fulfilled in Christ Jesus.

On the one hand, in the central place of power, the politics of the Voice through powerful media calls for reconciliation by legislation. On the other, a seemingly “insignificant” people, the Ikuntji, little over 200 altogether, sitting and singing in the dust amongst the glorious MacDonnell ranges in central Australia, are calling the whole land to wholeness and reconciliation under the Cross of Christ Jesus. 

One declares an ideology, the other a profound spirituality. Here again, is the great Apostolic missional and also revival principle of our Lord – Christ crucified, the power of God: “But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. He chose the lowly and despised things of the world, and the things that are not, to nullify the things that are, so that no one may boast in His presence.”  Discerning Australian Christians regardless of skin colour are praying so.

Rev Ian Clarkson, Adelaide, chair of Barnabas Aid Australia