When, fifteen years ago, an Air France Concorde plane went out of control while leaving Charles De Gaulle airport near Paris the images of the fire and crash were shocking. Sadly, everyone on board was killed - one hundred passengers and nine crew – and four people on the ground.
At the time, the impact of the disaster was intensified because Concorde epitomised the sophistication of engineering. It was supersonic, able to fly at an almost inconceivable speed – twice as fast as sound – it was iconic, glamorous, a symbol of success.
A piece of metal had fallen onto the runway from a plane that took off five minutes ahead of Concorde. It cut open a tyre causing chain reaction of problems until the point of catastrophe.
Investigations showed that other factors also contributed, including a maintenance error. One can’t help thinking, if only that hadn’t happened, or if only this had occurred, then there wouldn’t have been a disaster.
We all have experience of near misses in life. Sometimes we call our escape a miracle and then usually forget about what nearly happened. But we don’t forget the tragedies, the times when no miracle occurred.
As each day begins we don’t know what we’ll face. Belief in God doesn’t give us a suit of armour, guaranteed to keep us scratch-free or untouched by pain. To me belief in God is belief in love, not in immunity.
Lord, as we face another day, we ask that whatever difficulties or pain we meet we may nonetheless be able to recognise your love in those circumstances. And we ask you, Father of us all, that those caught up in situations of disaster experience solidarity, hope and the love of thir brothers and sisters.