Monday, December 14, 2009

Copenhagen Bells

The Anglican church bells in Lotus island tolled three hundred and fifty times yesterday in support of the Copenhagen Conference on climate change. Other churches on the island chimed in, but we have the only bell tower. The bell ringers came from far and near, including many of the community and their children. All participated! This was a World Council of Churches initiative. When you think of John Donne's famous phrasing, buried in his Meditation seventeen, it is as gripping and as relevant now, as then. " 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 . " When you think of the exchange between Scrooge and the ghost of Jacob Marley, ( Scrooge) "But you were always a good man of business, Jacob!" (Marley) " Business! Mankind was my business! The common welfare was my business: charity, mercy, forbearance and benevolence". It's no accident that Scrooges awakening was signalled by the striking of the heavy bells. As the pianist observed to me, the bell is an archetypal marker, that always has, and always will, signal to us, to come.

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