Searching Google about another topic, I came upon this famous poem -

"For Whom the Bell Tolls" (John Donne)

No man is an island,
Entire of itself.
Each 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 thine own
Or of thine friend's were.
Each man's death diminishes me,
For I am involved in mankind.
Therefore, send not to know
For whom the bell tolls,
It tolls for thee.

It struck me that these words have much relevance in the current situations facing mankind. The pandemic that we may be approaching some sort of end to.

They were written in 1624 after the author had just recovered from a close to death episode of fever. Similar to the pandemic we are currently suffering. The words remind us that not only are we all a part of a greater whole but unquestionably joined by the thread of God’s love - our individual soul link. That the tolling of the funeral bell will happen for each of us, and that each time someone takes their journey to eternal life for everyone remaining there will be an effect, however miniscule because of this universal bond.

Currently mankind is desperately seeking ways to ensure the future of our planet to make amends for mistakes made over centuries that now cumulatively endanger mother earth.

If a clod be washed away by the sea, Europe is the less.’ Today we are threatened by the possibility of whole nations being consumed by the sea and then surely the world will be the less. It goes on, For I am involved in mankind’ which we surely are, and that involvement includes all people of all colours and creeds and there is no place for discrimination of any kind in our world.

I am reminded by Spirit that one of my intended lessons from earthly life is that of tolerance. I hope I am improving but still have some way to go and will hopefully see continuing improvement before my bell tolls. 

Donne’s poem has a second verse which ends with the words – ‘by making my recourse to my God, who is our only security.’ As Spiritualists we understand the truth and the import of these words, and the responsibilities they place upon us. They do say there is nothing new in the world, only history repeating itself. This poem may support this theory having been written about 250 years before Emma Hardinge Britten received the inspirations that are the bedrock of our principles. Principles that are the foundation for every Spiritualist's life. A life that will surely end in one aspect when our bell tolls. Our saving grace is the unquestionable knowledge that life eternal awaits irrespective of earthly life and its outcomes.

Minister Alan Rawnsley