The following is a guest submission. To see the rest of the writers work go to their website here. — Anthony
To Know, Love, and Serve God
by Dominic Casanova
It is often said that it is always possible to find a silver lining in every situation. Another way of phrasing the same sentiment is found in Romans 8:28 which states that “in all things God works for the good of those who love him”. Whilst it is certainly difficult, at least for myself to find such a silver lining throughout the lockdown here in Sydney, one benefit readily apparent is the extra time afforded for an extended period of introspection.
This abundance of time, much of which has been supposedly spent on studies, has also allowed me to reflect on what exactly is deficient, particularly in life here in the various cities, and on what the ideal situation might be, especially for a family. I think that a time akin to hiding (at least from the various larger cities) is in order for at least a portion of those in Christian communities. It seems to me that it is nearly impossible to live a full and unhindered life within the confines of a city such as Sydney. A place wherein one is policed through the use of lockdowns, rushed by the supposedly necessary busyness of life within a city, and forced to breathe the same cramped, dirty air, as so many other people.
I suppose what is really necessary in all these reflections, is that an idea of what exactly might be necessary for a full life must be formed. Once one knows that much, it is possible to evaluate where one might live such a life. I think that, for a Christian at least, it is necessary to live a life wherein it is possible to know, love and serve God. For the ordinary Christian, this is done through family life and through work. Neither will remain as such in heaven, but they are both good and necessary things here on earth, and both can be great sources of joy and beauty.
At a time when the whole world seems opposed to the paradigm wherein one might wish to live a small and obscure life, happy within the humble joys of family life, it seems as though the only chance for any of this to succeed is for small communities to develop outside the reach of large cities. Hence, the attraction of small country townships.
I am not advocating here for a complete and utter rejection of all that is to be found within a busy city. There is an Aristotelian idea that there is some truth to be found in every position, and it would seem that there is some good to be found, even within places which might reasonably be considered as unwholesome for most people. Even in decadent Rome, it would seem that not all Christians fled the city entirely, and they were supposedly able to contribute to the rebuilding of a more Christian society in which humans could flourish and thrive. So, there is certainly something to be said for remaining and waiting for the day when we can all come out of hiding and rebuild society into something beautiful and good, in which the arts can flourish and humans can once again thrive.
I am, however, offering my own small piece of advice, that all Christians, particularly those men who will, either now or sometime in the future, have the responsibility of looking after a wife and children, should give some serious thought to how they will live out their lives in such a way as to know, love and serve God. I would hesitantly posit that this can be done, perhaps in a somewhat easier way, free from the distractions, both moral and otherwise, of city life. One is not meant to flee all society and all sense of responsibility to community, but one is called to be discerning about the company among which one mingles. Perhaps there is some merit to be found in building a life for oneself and for one’s family, among a community of Christians in the country.
Maybe, by so doing, there will someday be numerous small, thriving communities, all of which, when the time is ripe, can contribute to the rebuilding of society through the reintroduction of the arts, and even the sciences. I know that, on my part, I will at least attempt to reach a stage where I can live in relative obscurity, safe in the understanding that I can know, love and serve God in peace and harmony, together with a small community of other like-minded people.
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