This week I’ve been thinking about the ‘no man is an island’ idea first floated by English poet John Donne. It gets across the idea that we’re part of something bigger—we don’t thrive when we’re cut off from others, and others are impoverished when we don’t take steps to include them.
The words, first published in 1624, read: All mankind is of one author, and is one volume; when one man dies, one chapter is not torn out of the book, but translated into a better language; and every chapter must be so translated … No man is an island, entire of itself … 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.
These words call us to richer awareness of our shared humanity—to more fully appreciating that we are all part of God’s much-loved creation (not only those most like us, but also those with different tastes, backgrounds and opinions). We are therefore duty bound to care for and reach out to one another.
The sombre observation that another’s death diminishes us is a reminder that once someone has ended their time on Earth, the contribution they can make to this world is over. There are no second chances. This speaks of the urgent importance of encouraging people to make the best of the life God has given them. If we can build people up and cheer them on, who knows what they might contribute to the world around us?
This edition profiles the need for more leaders in The Salvation Army’s Maori work and for all of us to do our part in helping Maori find a home and a place to stand and serve within our movement. I pray that even as you thank God for his exciting work through The Salvation Army’s Maori Ministry at this time, you will also consider your part in permitting God to do even more.
Major Christina Tyson
Romans 12:2 Contemporary English Version
‘Don’t be like the people of this world, but let God change the way you think. Then you will know how to do everything that is good and pleasing to him.’
‘Kaua hoki to koutou ahua e rite ki to tenei ao: engari kia puta ke, ara kia whakahoutia o koutou hinengaro, kia whakamatautauria ai e koutou ta te Atua e pai ai, te mea e pai ana, e manakohia ana, e tino rite ana.’
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