Wednesday, March 31, 2021

John Donne died today 1572–1631

“Death, be not proud, though some have called thee Mighty and dreadful, for thou art not so.” 

 “Lo,” preached the newly ordained minister, quoting the Book of Lamentations at the funeral of his wife, “I am the man that hath seen affliction.” Indeed, from the death of his father to his own, John Donne witnessed much affliction. 

The Black Plague was repeatedly sweeping through London—three waves during his 10-year tenure as dean of St. Paul’s Cathedral—killing tens of thousands with each recurrence. For months Donne thought himself a sure victim of the disease. 

Throughout his life, he withstood financial ruin, the destruction of his family, religious persecution, and other plagues. Yet, he became one of England’s greatest love poets, and one of the greatest preachers of the 1600s.

Certainly one of my favourite poets. He died at age 59.


  1. 4 months more and I may yet out-live him, though I won't out-poet him.

  2. One of the afflictions affecting Christians in the 21st century is that of health. In previous times, Christians would be out working among the sick, bringing succour, caring for the dying, helping the survivors and often dying themselves. Yet from the time of first lockdown it's felt like Christians no longer had a role in caring for the sick - they were the displaced and un-needed people in the crisis. In Korea churches were the site of super-spreader events, infected individuals sharing their disease with those around them; Christians were making things worse, rather than better.

    This has been an aspect of the present outworking of the faith that I really struggle with. We should be seeing Christians healed and sharing life with those around them, even if they were dying to do so. The apparent impotency of the church in the face of this (and many other) situations makes me ask difficult questions that don't seem to have answers.


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