TITLE: The Hart of Living
By Helen Murray
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Pro Hart died this week, aged 77, of motor neurone disease.
Our Pastor was almost a protégé of his and will conduct his funeral.
They had a David and Jonathon blood/brother relationship. Both loved Jesus with a huge passion. Both were artists whose paintings brought a very high premium. They loved language and often held conversations in spoonerisms. They could as easily operate in cartoon art as in serious forms, and much of Pro’s art had a very colourful cartoon commentary flavour to it.
He’d been a miner for twenty years before turning to the brush. The name Pro was derived from the nickname Professor, because of his passion for invention, and he always remained in the far outback desert mining town of his youth. There he held court in his own amazing gallery, receiving guests from all over the world. His brilliantly colourful work was prolific, but he gave so much of it away to raise money for charitable purposes that some of the “serious” artistic fraternity disowned him. Although he is dearly loved all over Australia, even by the ordinary bloke in the street, he has not been hung in the great galleries of the nation. He never pretended to be other than he was, a creature of the wild, red, sandy, bluebush country. Money poured into him and money poured out to the glorious benefits of the Kingdom of God. He will take many with him to present to Jesus in Heaven!
Now the sophisticated artistic community is being called to account for their paternalistic disdain of an amazing man. While his art is hung all over the world, Australia now, belatedly, wants to honour a magnificent and humorous artist, great not only with the paintbrush, but also in the honour he gave to his Creator and Redeemer.
There is to be a state funeral. Way out in the outback! At least those who walk in the corridors of power love him dearly and honour his memory.
Pastor Tim Hall is to conduct the service for his very best friend on the face of this earth. Pastor Tim is likewise a wild man. This they had in common. They were never limited – the world was their stage. They were hungry for life. They took it wherever they could find it, in very opulent doses. Jesus gave them plenty of it and they lived it in overflowing bounty. With the Bible as their cornerstone they were passionate to extend their options, and “larger than life” describes them brilliantly. The geographical distance between them never intimidated their brotherhood or their supernatural knowledge of each other. If one felt a need, the other would ring through to find out what it was, so magnificent was their mateship.
Now Pastor Tim has to usher in a new era. Before the whole nation of Australia he will conduct the grieving process for the loss of his closest friend ever, apart from his Lord and Saviour, Jesus. It is a wake in the sense that we know where Pro is going, and he will be waiting there for all of us who loved him. But there is still grief at the absence of such a mighty man of God upon whose famous painting bench there lived, in dignity, a worn and much loved Bible. And all Australia will mourn the passing of one so dear to the irascible, untamed-able heart of this land, but who wore, with pride, the golden chains of glory. The media will be waiting upon Pro Hart, to eulogise an icon (although he’d never seek such status). He is a hero, and is owed a hero’s honour.
Shakespeare once wrote; “There is a tide in the affairs of men….” And I believe there is a gentle turning of the tide of faith in the great “South Land of the Holy Spirit”, (so named before settlement by Pedro Fernandez de Quiros). People are again asking questions about faith. Even political leaders are making faith statements. I believe the timing for this funeral is exact and precise in God’s plan for the regeneration of this nation. I feel this is a hugely powerful “dunamis” moment in Australia’s history spiritually. Deep within me is a perception that God will be speaking to the nation on this funeral day, sending out a clarion call to the lost, not unmixed with a wake-up, stand-up, call to His chosen. It is the very most absolutely right time to travail in intercession for this magnificent nation down under, that it might arise and take the “road less travelled”.*
*(Title of Scott Peck’s classic).
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