‘No Man is an Island'
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 any manner of thy friends 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.
Devotions upon Emergent Occasions
As a church we are in the season of remembering. This past week we have celebrated All Souls, All Saints and we will move on to Remembrance Sunday in a few days time.
As part of these reflections we remember as John Donne wrote ‘No man is an island entire of itself’. As Christians we are never solitary, never alone. Through our Baptism we become members of one another in Christ, members of a company of saints whose mutual belonging transcends death (Church of England, Common Worship: Times and Seasons). We are as we say part of the great cloud of witnesses who through the years have been faithful servants of Christ.
When we speak of the Saints we automatically think of people who did extraordinary things in the their lives, but the feast of All Saints encourages us to think about the ordinary saints those who have done great things in hidden ways. These saints were people who dared to live a Christian life. Their lives were and are an encouragement and inspiration to us.
A saintly man who influenced me in my faith was Bishop Anthony Crockett known to us as Bishop Tony. He was not perfect, but he showed us how to live a Christian life of pilgrimage in accordance to the message of Christ. Bishop Tony was kind, but never afraid to stand up for what he thought was right. Bishop Tony believed passionately in a God who knows and loves us. Bishop Tony supported the poor and marginalised and worked for justice. Bishop Tony was easy to relate to and was a wise council.
We all have Bishop Tony’s in our lives those who have influenced our lives to the good. The feast of All Saints encourages us to remember the many, many, anonymous saints. The church clearly keeps this feast to recognise these saintly people and to celebrate their goodness. So as we travel through November, this month of remembering we honour and rejoice in the little people, the forgotten heroes and heroines, people who in their own humble ways have followed Christ and have recognised that they are part of a great cloud of witnesses.
No one is an island, working together we have the capacity to be the hidden saints of today. We have the ability to work with others to look out and stand up for the lost and the lonely. We are not isolated individuals, but the Body of Christ and part of the cloud of witnesses whom we celebrate in this season of remembering.