More than words
This month I have enjoyed reviewing an entertaining book by former Herald writer, Dr. James Simpson. In it one of his thoughtful musings is, “The real value of a life consists not in its duration, but in its donation.”
Many articles in this month’s edition reinforce this sentiment. We are often known and remembered for what we do rather than what we say. Ruth Sanderson takes a humorous look at New Year’s resolutions, a classic example of when it is much easier to talk about grand ideals rather than actually act upon them.
When it comes to faith, the Bible is clear that it cannot be based purely on what we believe: “By their fruits you will know them” (Matthew 7:16). Kevin Hargaden in his article, ‘Everyday theology’, assures us that even the seemingly academic topic of theology is actually extremely practical and crucial in our walk with the Lord.
As John Hamilton retires from his role with Wycliffe Bible Translators, he reflects on his time working with the organisation and the steps of faith he took along the way. He says, “God isn’t interested in what you don’t do with the skills you don’t have!”
Matt Williams makes it clear that even in the small things, our decisions matter – what we buy, our choice of food and our resulting carbon footprint. In his article, ‘Blessed are the poor?’, he outlines the abject poverty in Malawi and how we must take more responsibility to help in lasting ways that go beyond the ‘sticky-plaster approach’ of emergency help.
As the Presbyterian Children’s Society celebrates 150 years of tackling poverty in Ireland, helping vulnerable families within our own denomination, its director, Paul Gray, reminds us of the massive difference that a grant from the Society can make. He also presents a strong challenge that ought to resonate with us deeply, “There should be no child living in poverty in our Presbyterian community today when there exists Christian compassion.”
When we think about our faith in terms of action, we have the perfect example of Jesus who, in very physical ways, unequivocally proved His love for us. First He humbled Himself when He came to earth as a baby and ultimately He sacrificed Himself on the cross. In his Christmas reflection, Moderator, Dr. Frank Sellar says, “The shepherds would be able to recognise the one who had come to save the world, as a perfect child dressed like a spotless lamb, prepared from birth for atonement and sacrifice.”
Our challenge is for the world to recognise us as His followers. Merry Christmas from everyone in the Herald office.
Sarah Harding, Editor
The Presbyterian Herald is the official magazine of the Presbyterian Church in Ireland. It provides a forum for debate and discussion on a wide range of topics and aims to challenge and encourage Presbyterians, as well as inform them about what the wider Church is involved in. It has a readership in excess of 25,000 and is distributed throughout Ireland.
To find out more go to www.presbyterianireland.org/herald