Monday, 14 September 2009

No One is an Island (Part 2)

Most people have heard the famous line, “No man is an island”. You might have even heard a little more of the meditation it comes from:

“No man is an island, entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main. If a clod be washed away by the sea, Europe is the less, as well as if a promontory were, as well as if a manor of thy friend's or of thine own were: any man's death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind, and therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee.”

The above comes from John Donne’s Devotions Upon Emergent Occasions, Meditation XVII, and “For whom the bell tolls” was picked up by Hemingway. It is a meditation upon our interconnection as human beings and as baptized Christians. And I think it is a way of understanding the whole of the Christian faith; a sort of lens to understand what we believe and what we are being drawn into. Some doctrine and biblical passages to reflect on through the lens of 'No One is an Island'.

  • Doctrine of God (Trinity) God is not alone (Jn 1:1)
  • Jesus Lives, dies, raised for God and others (Jn 5:19-24;11:45-53)
  • Eucharist “We who are many …” (1Cor 10:14-22)
  • Baptism into Christ, Jesus’ brothers and sisters (Rom 6:1-11; 8:15-17)
  • Humanity Gen 1:27
  • Ethics Matt 5:21-48; Rom 12:9-21
  • Church Mk 3:13-19; Ephes 4:17 – 5:2
  • Evangelism Acts 2
  • Healing Mk 5:21-43
  • God, Jesus, Spirit, love 1Jn 4:7-21

And as in all Christian doctrine, all the above lead into each other and back again.

To view Meditation XVII see here, or a podcast of it being read, or the whole of the Devotions, or my sermon on 'No One is an Island' and a link to a really cool video here.

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