|George Hunn Nobbs|
In Norfolk Island’s history there is one figure who towers over his generation; George Hunn Nobbs. George Hunn Nobbs seems to have lived a life of contradictions.
His early life seems shrouded in half truths, lies and possible serious crimes. The story of his paternity does not ring true. His claimed naval record does not agree with the facts and his arrival on Pitcairn was suspicious to say the least.
Yet this same man was willing and wanting to become the Islands Spiritual teacher, the Minister. He took on that role and was eventually ordained as a Priest in London, where he also met with Queen Victoria and convinced her of the need for his small flock to be removed to a bigger island. Queen Victoria who knew all the great men of her day must have been impressed by him because she arranged for the population of Pitcairn Island to be transferred to Norfolk Island where of course they have remained to this very day.
George Hunn Nobbs composed several well known Island hymns. They are deeply moving and often full of the grace and love of God. I have no doubt that George Hunn Nobbs had a deep faith in God, but he does not seem to have had an easy time with his faith. He seems to have had his own demons that he had to wrestle with.
There are accusations of drunkenness. Some people suspect he stole the ship he was on when it arrived on Pitcairn. If that is true, what happened to the crew that originally sailed her?
Yet George Hunn Nobbs loved God and was a man of real faith and was blessed by God.
That really should not come as any surprise, the Bible is full of deeply flawed characters who did amazing things and were loved by God. Perhaps the most famous was King David, Israel’s most powerful and best loved king. There is no doubt that David made great mistakes, murder and adultery amongst them. There is equally no doubt that God loved David and blessed him, and did amazing things with David, because David loved God whole heartedly. David never gave in totally to his demons. David wrestled with his temptations, sometimes triumphing over them but all too often he gave in to the temptations. But, when David failed he always asked forgiveness and tried not to repeat the same mistake again.
I think George Hunn Nobbs was a lot like David in that way. Sometimes he gave into temptation but he never gave in totally to the temptations. He wrestled with them, trying to resist them, and when he failed, he sought God’s forgiveness.
George Hunn Nobbs was a very human hero and a lesson for all of us. Christians aren’t perfect. We are like everyone else. We are tempted and sometimes we yield to those temptations, but then, when we do we can seek forgiveness from God and try not to do those things again.
As the clique goes … Christians aren’t perfect … but we are forgiven.
Have you been?
Pitcairn Anthem; 'Come Ye Blesses'.
Then shall the King say unto them,
On His right hand -
Come ye blessed of my Father
Inherit the Kingdom prepared for you
From the foundation of the world.
I was enhunger'd and you gave me meat,
I was thirsty and ye gave me drink,
I was a stranger and ye took me in,
Naked and ye clothed me,
I was sick and ye visited me,
I was in prison and ye came unto me;
In as much as ye have done it unto one
Of these the least of my brethren
Ye have done it unto me.
Ye have done it unto me.
Paraphrased from Matthew 25:34 - 40.
Words and music by Driver Christian and Rev. George Hunn Nobbs