Photo: Mitch Teemley
“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 bells tolls; it tolls for thee”
There is also a bell that tolls even before the loss of physical life, one that tolls for every soul that is lost. The souls not just of terrorists, traffickers and rapists, but of those outwardly decent people, religious or irreligious, who began to die the moment they became disconnected from their Source.
For at the very foundation of Donne’s words are Jesus’ words that we are all branches, not merely of an inanimate mass, but of a living Vine. And when any of us becomes disconnected from that Vine, from our Creator, our soul begins to die.
We’ve all seen broken branches that still have green leaves, perhaps even bits of fruit formed before they broke away. And yet we know these are only echoes, fading snapshots of a life that was. Some can be saved, regrafted to their source, others cannot.
People, too, can retain the appearance of Life, but be cut off from their Source. So let us care enough to look close, to watch for the vital connection, not just the outward appearance. For the loss of every life—and every soul—diminishes me. Therefore, God grant that I may remain involved in mankind…
At every level.