The city of Sydney remembered Arthur Stace, the graffiti artist known as “Mr. Eternity,” on July 31, the 50th anniversary of his death.
Stace, a former soldier and an alcoholic, became a Christian after hearing a sermon based on the parable of the tax collector and the Pharisee. During the commemoration at St. Andrew’s Cathedral, the Very Rev. Kanishka Raffel preached on that parable.
After Stace’s conversion, it was a sermon at the Burton Street Baptist Church Darlinghurst (now the Eternity Playhouse) that gave him a mission.
“I was listening to a man one day, in Burton Street Baptist Church, a man called John Ridley, the Australian evangelist. And he was preaching on eternity,” Stace said in a radio interview in 1964. “And he said these words: ‘Eternity! Eternity! Where, oh where, will you spend eternity?’ And the Lord laid it on my heart, there and then, to go out and write Eternity. I went straight out and I’ve been writing it for 20 years.”
Stace devoted his life to reminding people of eternity by writing the word ornately in chalk on Sydney’s streets.
“Stace’s life was dramatically changed by his conversion to Christ,” the dean said. “He gave up drink and crime, and threw himself into the ministry of assisting down and out men with practical help. He also became a preacher and spoke in hostels, gaols [jails], churches, and on the streets of all that Jesus had done, and what Jesus had done for him. He wrote his one-word sermon more than 500,000 times over 35 years, not being ‘discovered’ until 1956.”
Singer-songwriter Colin Buchanan performed a new song in honor of Stace.