“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”
My life and yours were diminished by the murder of five people in London, and the suffering of many more. Our lives are, in fact, diminished every day by the death and suffering of fellow humans in Syria and Somalia and places we know nothing of.
But it’s not just the death of physical lives that diminishes us, it’s the death of souls. The London terrorist’s soul died before his life and the lives of his British compatriots ended. It died when he became disconnected from Life itself.
As true and powerful as Donne’s words are, there is an even greater truth in the words of Jesus. We are branches, he says, not merely of an inanimate mass, but of a living Vine (“No branch can bear fruit of itself; it must remain in the Vine”). When a branch becomes disconnected from the Vine, from its Creator, its very soul dies. (John 15:1-4)
There is no greater diminishment than this.
So let us redouble our involvement in mankind.
And in eternity.