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Baptist Church

1st of May 2014

One of my favourite devotions is John Donne’s ‘No man is an island’. In my early life it expressed the way in which we need each other and of the humility required to live together in the right fashion. Now I don’t pretend to believe that everyone will agree, of course not, and my interpretations are shaped by my principles, passions, past and in some way my political persuasion. However I have not changed my view, as I have grown older, if anything they have intensified.

Now as I write this we have recently experienced the loss of two men who can only be described as left of centre in their political aspirations. Tony Benn and Bob Crow. We also had the funeral last year of someone far removed from the aforementioned duo. Margret Thatcher. Some will say they are people of the extremes but I’m not too sure. In the meditation two lines always strike me. The first; ‘If a clod be washed away by the sea, Europe is the less.’ The Second; ‘Any man’s death diminishes me.’ The first speaks of humility but also encouragement. We are called to be humble in the recognition of our contribution and our humanity but in that acknowledgement we are also very important to the whole. Any place is less if we were not there.

I always find the second contentious, because we are forced to appreciate that if the first line quoted is true of us then the second reminds us that all those that we may disagree with are included as well. But much more than that we ourselves are lessened and weakened when they are lost. No matter our politics, beliefs and backgrounds.

I also believe that Churches are called to celebrate and model these exact ideals. Scripture continually speaks of believers being community as God intended. In so many discourses Jesus extols the value of the least, the meek, the put upon, the downcast but never devalues the contribution of anyone to the whole. The apostle Paul uses the picture of the body and, in that, he counters the idea that any part can survive without the other. I certainly would be diminished without any of you and I hope you feel the same?
Love Jason The Man in the Manse

 
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