Whilst walking this morning there were many house martins swooping about, occasionally flying so close and fast I felt they would fly into me. They eat on the wing and I am guessing they were eating as many insects as they could before flying south to Africa. After a weekend of torrential rain it seemed like a dream to be able to fly to a sunnier climate. But, I love our country and it's seasons and, as I mentioned at the Harvest Festival service in our local church on Sunday, without the rain there would be no harvest. Amazing to think that such a small bird could fly all that way but they form colonies, often double brooding so the young from the first brood help the parents feed the second brood, and I guess there is safety in numbers each looking out for each other. What an amazing Father we have to have designed all of that! As it says in Matthew 6:26 "Look at the the birds of the air, they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet our heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than them?" or in the Message translation, "Look at the birds, free and unfettered, not tied down to a job description, careless in the care of God. And you count far more to Him than the birds." That is the freedom Father wants for us, a careless freedom , trusting in Him.
As I walked on, thinking about the house martins and also about the coming Zoom with C Baxter Kruger the words "No man is an island" came to mind. I have no idea where it came from as, at the time, I had no idea who had said it. But it made me reflect on what I have been pondering on since lockdown, that we are all connected, not just as human beings, but we are all part of the dance which includes the whole of creation. I think since Covid many of us have come to realise the importance of connection with each other, and despite times in the past when I've thought I'd like to run away and become a hermit, I know there would be a big empty space in my soul without being able to relate to other people. I'm a very tactile person so I have really struggled with not being able to hug people, as I'm sure many people have especially if you live on your own. For the first time in my life I am grateful for technology..... when it works!
On returning home I looked up the words "No man is an island" and when I discovered they were written by John Donne it vaguely rang a bell, not least because at the beginning of his writings from his essay "Devotions upon Emergent Occasions (1623) XV11" it says "Perchance, he for whom this bell tolls"! Another well known phrase. His writings have been called Metaphysical and "No man is an island" described as "an illustration of all Christians in the mystical body of Christ" He had been ill just before writing this and reflecting on his life. which was not without blemish, but I believe he saw we are all connected to the Trinity and to each other, and that with every birth, death and everything in between, there is a flow, a dance, a rhythm ........ I still don't know why that phrase popped into my head but it has given me even more food for thought and I am pretty sure it wasn't a coincidence!
"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 bell tolls;
It tolls for thee."