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I fear no more

Today we remember John Donne. He was a priest and poet in England in the seventeenth century. I posted one if his poems on my personal Facebook story last week. Quite coincidentally I found myself in church singing one of his hymns they next day (don't worry, I was by myself, singing because I wanted to sing!).

It is a beautiful hymn and deals with sin - that which pulls us from God. Remember, sin is not really a laundry list of things we have "done wrong" but much more a noticing of times when conversation with God or walking with God have drifted. The first verse explores our tendency to continue to return to the wrong direction. The second our encouraging others in the wrong way and both verses end with the idea that even when God has forgiven all this, there will be more.

Of course, Donne's final worry is that sin will keep him eternally from God. What grabs me in this verse is that Jesus is already shining brightly. There is a longing for God which is beautiful and familiar.

Wilt thou forgive that sin where I begun,          Which was my sin, though it were done before? Wilt thou forgive that sin, through which I run,          And do run still, though still I do deplore?                 When thou hast done, thou hast not done,

                        For I have more.

Wilt thou forgive that sin which I have won          Others to sin, and made my sin their door?

Wilt thou forgive that sin which I did shun          A year or two, but wallow'd in, a score?                 When thou hast done, thou hast not done,                         For I have more.

I have a sin of fear, that when I have spun          My last thread, I shall perish on the shore; But swear by thyself, that at my death thy Son          Shall shine as he shines now, and heretofore;                 And, having done that, thou hast done;                         I fear no more.

(If you missed the poem earlier in the week'

No Man is an Island'

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 any manner of thy friends

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. )

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