Saturday, 17 March 2012

“No Man is an Island.”

Mr. David Buffet, Chief Minister of Norfolk Island
We have just celebrated 30 years of self government.  During the special Assembly meeting David Buffet reminded us of Norfolk’s history.  There was much to be proud of in that history.  What impressed me was how close the community was on Pitcairn Island and how difficult the discission to leave was .  To quote David …
Their move to Norfolk Island – was not a straight forward event.  They did however decide this very clearly … we will all go or none of us go.  We will continue to be a people together.”
The bonds that held that tiny community together were so strong that no one was willing to leave Pitcairn unless everyone went together. 

David’s speech then went on to outline recent history and developments.  But I could not help thinking about that decision to leave Pitcairn.  With the progress and changes that have happened in the years since arriving on Norfolk the community has become more fractured.  These days I read letters to the editor and a phrase keeps repeating itself. “if you don’t like it leave.” 

A very different attitude to the one that says we all go or we all stay.  That statement values all people as individuals and values their contributions.  It is an attitude that says each person is valuable, unique and precious. 
That attitude comes directly out of Pitcairn’s Christian heritage.  God when he made people, made us unique and special. 

As the Bible says …

Then God said … “Let us make people in our image, in our likeness … So God created man in his own image, in  the image of God he created him;  male and female he created them.”
God made us special, and each different to each other.  Each with our unique personality and abilities, each with our own special contributions to make to each other but each of us made in God’s image. This is not saying we are gods ourselves  but we all share in some way in God’s moral nature.  We are made to be in relationships with other people.  Made to love and care for others as God is in relationship with Himself, Father, Son and Holy Spirit.  Made to be creative and contribute to the good of others. 

We are made to live in close and supportive communities.  Where each contributes to the well being of that community.  English poet and Church of England priest John Donne expressed these thoughts well in his meditation 17,  a piece of prose writing  which has become better known in it’s poem form …

For Whom The Bell Tolls

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 manner 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.
Bounty Day Celebration,
 the annual anniversary of arrival of the settlers from Pitcairn Island.

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