In 1624, John Donne wrote that ‘no man is an island’, perhaps following a similar train of thought to Leonardo Da Vinci, who is credited with saying ‘...learn how to see. Realise that everything connects to everything else’.
Unfortunately, I experienced ‘island life’ recently, due to problems with our home internet connection. I had forgotten how frustrating losing that connection can be and the significant impact it can have on our ability to function. During the several days without internet access, I had time to reflect on many things, one of which was this idea of independence. It made me realise that for me to function at my best, I need to rely on other people. I was not able to rectify the problem with our internet on my own, it required at least three people at the internet company, working together to bring about a solution.
As a Christian, the words of Donne and Da Vinci remind me of the words of Jesus when He spoke of the greatest commandments. Jesus points out that we can’t separate our love of God from our love for our neighbour. We can’t offer our heart, mind, soul or strength in relationship with God without willingly relinquishing sovereignty over our life. We can’t do this on our own - these are commandments which need to be worked out in a community of interdependence, where we encourage each other and lovingly hold each other to account. The consequence of believing that ‘every man is an island’ is that it becomes increasingly easy to say, ‘its not my problem’. Unfortunately, Christians are not exempt from this and we need to remain connected to God, and each other, to protect against this hardening of heart.
Who do you depend on to help you function at your best? Is it possible to thank them for their support or encouragement?
In which aspects of your life do you need to reconnect with God? Spend some time in prayer about how you might move forward. It might be helpful to find two other trusted Christians that you can commit to meeting with regularly to encourage and challenge each other in your walk with God.
Who do you need to reconnect with? Perhaps this week is the right time to do something about it.
Lord God, we thank you that we can experience fullness of life through relationship with You. We pray that this week we might have opportunities to bless those around us with support and encouragement. Amen.
Written by Stephen Richardson, Assistant Methodist Chaplain to Newcastle University and Co-ordinator of the International Student Centre.
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