Which is worse – knowing or not knowing? Our hearts and our prayers this morning are with the families of the passengers and crew of Flight 370. Wistful hoping that somewhere their loved ones might have survived are beginning to fade.
It seems to me that modern life in all its wonder and technical sophistication depends on the suspending of disbelief. We get on and off planes as if they were buses. Complicated surgery is described as routine. The internet makes it seem as if geography doesn’t exist.
But of course all that skill, wonder and sophistication also make us vulnerable – vulnerable to technology going wrong and human error. And of course – in the interconnectedness of international transport – vulnerable to terrorism as well
In the days after 9/11 I spent a lot of time on the phone to people in New York. I was due to bring a party of people there in the following week. What I heard in those conversations was shock and deep distress – a sort of lost innocence that what had seemed safe could be so shockingly destroyed by ruthless terrorism.
We don’t know what has happened to Flight 370. Indeed we may never know. Life will go on. We’ll continue to enjoy access to international travel, reminding ourselves that statistically it is extraordinarily safe,
But what does faith say? Well I’ve been carrying in my mind this memory of Ash Wednesday. I was in a Senior Citizens’ Lunch Club in Fife and with a small group of elderly people for some worship. We got out the ash to mark one another’s foreheads. I saw the light of memory in the old lady’s eyes. ‘What are the words that go with the ash?’ I asked her. Instantly she said, ‘Remember O man that thou art dust and onto dust shalt thou return’
Faith says ‘Enjoy the wonders of modern life.’ But it also says, ‘Don’t forget how fragile life is. Savour life and live it humbly