Congratulations to the team at VOX magazine led by Ruth Garvey-Williams and Jonny Lindsay for their January 10th anniversary edition.
It is a remarkable achievement; the quality of production, done on a shoestring budget, is outstanding and the magazine has grown to be a unique place of news, discussion, reviews and reflections concerning Christianity in Ireland.
But more than this, what strikes me reading it is the passion of Christians all over Ireland to serve their God by serving others. The Apostle John says that
whoever does not love their brother and sister, whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they have not seen. (1 John 4:20)
Yes the Church is imperfect, it is full of imperfect people – I’m one for sure. Yes it is often divided relationally and theologically. Yes, there is much to be concerned about and lament over. Yes, it can be especially hard going in a local church when there is disagreement and division.
But it was ever so – as a quick read of Corinthians and Galatians and James will remind us! The real challenge is to develop constructive criticism that builds up and does not just tear down.
So at times I get a bit weary of endless criticisms of the local church – and have to watch that critical spirit in myself. This is why VOX has been, I think, a blessing to the church in Ireland.
It has taken some risks to host debate – and the 10th Edition gives space to leaders talking honestly about challenges facing the Irish church.
But it has also given voice to how the heartbeat of the Christian faith is ‘faith expressing itself through love’ (Galatians 5:6). Faith in Jesus, empowered by the Spirit, leads to a life that looks outwards from the self to others. And that is what I see in story after story in VOX.
So thank you VOX for 10 years and best wishes for the ones ahead.