Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Viva Vox

Yesterday, I spent a richly rewarding afternoon with my friend Marion and her daughter Alyssa.
Alyssa was my ‘viva vox’, bringing me an eye witness account of our sponsored child, Sharon.
Alyssa just came back from spending three months in Sharon’s Ugandan village – working in her school and visiting her home. She met her mother and her sisters , saw her living conditions , her life style, things that make up her daily routine!

It was so heart warming and moving to see the photos Alyssa had taken - some of them with her and Sharon - and to hear the first hand account of their interaction and conversations. How close it made me feel to Sharon and it gave me such an intimate look at this girl so far away distance wise and yet our lives are so closely connected.
We have the power to change her life --- she has the power to bless our hearts.

There is something about ‘viva vox’ - (literally ‘oral statement’)
Viva vox was a byword of the historians of the ancient world. They always preferred an oral witness to the written word.

I can choose from numerous books written about the life of Napoleon and his love Josephine – even a large hard cover volume can be purchased for $15.00 on Amazon. But earlier this year a hand written note from Napoleon to his wife was found in an old filing cabinet.
The note said, "I send you three kisses – one on your heart, one on your mouth and one on your eyes,"
This little hand scrawled note sold at an auction for $557,000.00 .

What made the difference ? Viva vox ! Getting as close as you can to the source.

A first hand account brings with it a stamp of authenticity, of believability, trustworthyness. It carries the weight of truth. As soon as something is written down it begins the game of telephone! The more times it is removed from the first hand account the less it can be trusted for truth or accuracy. There is the increased tendency for it to be changed, watered down, twisted, misunderstood, reinvented, added to and subtracted from the farther it is removed from the first oral statement of someone ‘who was there’!!!

The apostle John understood this concept. He establishes his position of Viva vox in I John 1:1

“That which was from the beginning,
Which we have heard,
Which we have seen with our eyes,
Which we have looked upon, and
Our hands have handled…. Of the Word of Life!!”

He left no room for speculation….the apostles' account of Jesus is from first hand experience; they heard Him with their own ears, they saw Him with their own eyes, they touched Him with their own hands.

There have been many books written about Jesus since the apostles recorded their first hand account. In the year 2004 in the Library of Congress the number of books about Jesus numbered 17,249 – the number has increased since then! Every one of these books was written by people who could not claim the viva vox statement of John.

Jesus asked the apostles , “Who do men say that I am?”
That question is still echoing down through the ages to our time.
He is still asking….
Who will you believe ?
The apostles who were THERE ?
Or the many, many words and opinions of men who lived thousands of years away from the advantage of viva vox!

I shall believe Simon Peter who exclaimed, “Thou art the Christ, the Son of the Living God!” (Matt. 16:16)


Anonymous said...

I've never heard that phrase. I'm glad I have now.

We have a sponsored young man in Haiti. I would love to meet him in person, along with his family. Since I did spend a brief time in Haiti during my early twenties, I would also really like to go back and see how I could be of service there again.

Julie said...

Hi Pam, thank-you for visiting my site -- I hope you do get to go back to Haiti!

Demara said...

Oh that is so interesting Julie! And how exciting that you got to actually see Sharon and hear the first hand accounts of Alyssa's encounter with her!! So nice.

Lovella said...

As usual, you taught me something new again today.

How wonderful for you to be able to learn more about your foster child.