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martyr, (entered heaven around 303)
It’s funny how short-lived our fine resolutions can be, isn’t it? I have before me your last two notes. The one written in September narrates your decision “to lead a happy social life, but give up once and for all the raucous party-scene which always leads me to do things I don’t really want to do and fills me with regret afterwards.” The note written last week is full of self-justifications describing how you are trying to make those raucous parties into mission fields: “Of course,” you write, “it’s not easy to carry on serious conversations with the music so loud, and the fact that most everyone is pretty much drunk even before they get to the party adds another challenge, and ever since I broke up with Mike I find that most of the guys I speak with have other things that they would like to talk about instead of religion, but even so I am making a sincere effort to turn these unhealthy social events into springboards for evangelization…” Hmm. Am I the only one who sees the irony lacing your run-on sentence? My dear niece, may I suggest another tactic? Why not try coming up with alternative social activities, fun but not sinful? You certainly have the charisma for it, and I am sure there are other students who would be more than glad to join you in the cause. Why not give it a shot? Perhaps the example of today’s saint will provide some encouragement for you.
Dasius was a Christian soldier in the Roman army back when it was still a dangerous proposition to be known publicly as a Christian. He was stationed in Bulgaria. At New Year’s, his battalion elected him as the “Lord of Misrule” for their pagan revels. It was his job to organize and direct the celebration of the winter festival. Of course, as you can imagine, these festivals were far from edifying affairs; in fact, they would probably make your college parties seem dainty and prude. Dasius knew what was expected of him, and he knew that playing his part would require betraying his friendship with Christ, so he refused. This displeased his fellow soldiers, to say the least, and they brought him before the Imperial legate, who demanded that he worship the state deities. Again, preferring his friendship with Christ to his very life, he declined. He was ordered as a soldier to obey, but held fast. The heathen anger was disgorged upon him, and they chopped off his head.
It seems to me that college affords you an opportunity to give just as powerful a testimony without having to pay quite so high a price. It will only take you a bit of effort, a bit of faith, and a bunch of creativity. Go for it.
Your loving uncle,