Living well in 2020

Living well in 2020

In the late autumn of 1871, Sir Marvin Sanders opened a burial site in Alexandria. This proved to be that of a minor lecturer in the Catechetical School of Alexandria, probably the earliest theological education enterprise in the history of the Church. Within the site were found a number of quite well-preserved papyri. These seem to have been written soon after the death of Pantaenus and during the subsequent principalship of Clement of Alexandria, so we can therefore date the documents not long after 190 AD.

One was especially interesting. It seems that this early teacher was concerned about the growing desire for success and influence in the church and tried to counter this trend with an emphasis on the supreme importance of living a good life for God.

Below is my rough translation of the document[1]. It seems to be a list of ten key aspirations and is entitled “Living Well”:

  1. Seek the presence of God always and in everything – in small matters of daily living, in study and teaching, in people, in beauty, in big issues of ministry.
  2. Constantly live in the grace and forgiveness of Christ and in conscious commitment to Him and His cause – to that end take communion/eucharist regularly to renew this in your heart.
  3. Live a full and happy life as a human being in God’s world – and thus fulfil God’s intention of renewing our humanity, while being wary of sin.
  4. In every circumstance, whenever possible, do the most loving thing for others – in leadership or ministry, in relationship, in family, in daily encounter with others.
  5. Fulfil your specific gifting and calling as best you can – in all stages of your life, from starting out in ministry to retirement, even if it means working harder than you wish.
  6. Write a journal daily – so you are able to reflect on the goodness of God, your own efforts to live well, and wrestle with ideas as they come into your life.
  7. Read quality – despite often tired or busy, read not just for relaxation but also books and articles that engage the mind and prompt careful thought.
  8. Take a walk or other exercise alone each day – for the body’s fitness, the mind’s time to think things through and for the spirit to give space to pray.
  9. Be humble enough not to pretend to be, or try to be, what you are not – apart from in exceptional circumstances, God’s strength is not given to allow you to be different from how he made you.
  10. Seek constantly to be at peace – a fruit of the Spirit and a product of constant vigilance, inside yourself and with others.

A useful set of aspirations for us all as we enter a new year. Why not make them your own?

 

[1] Schnickelgruber Alte Texte, Die Es Nie Gab, vol.14: 541, Berlin, 1896.

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One Comment on “Living well in 2020”

  1. Davina Soh Says:

    His wise words are still so relevant.


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