Once again we find ourselves thinking about the tragic events of 911.
I remember the day well. I had an american colleague at the church where I worked; and as I was going about my business I felt a nudge to drop in. As I walked through the door I couldn’t get over what was being streamed on the news.
In the ensuing days the coverage was repeated… planes colliding with concrete and steel, trapped people leaping to their deaths, dust and rubble covered survivors running to safety and, as the billowing cloud cleared… the smouldering stump of what remained of the South Tower.
The truth is our news streams report hundreds of thousands of terrible deaths every year. So why did 911 shock us so much? Was it that we thought The West impenetrable to the kind of terrorism we see daily in the rest of the world? Was it because none of us could imagine a building could fall that quickly and with such devastating consequences? Was it that the outcome of that day looked too much like the disaster movies we watch for entertainment but in this one real people died?
I remember having to preach that Sunday in the light of those events… and I remember settling on why the attack horrified us so much… These victims wore suits and carried mobile phones and worked on laptops and drove cars. Just… like… us…
It is so easy to distance ourselves from the victims of disaster in the developing world, because their world seems so distant. But the 911 victims could so easily have been you or I.
I have this gnawing feeling that many of us attach more value to their deaths than countless thousands from the rest of the world because they looked like us… we bore their image and they ours.
And that is the staggering revelation from God to a world groaning under strain of sin and disconnected from its Creator… Every death matters to Him because every single victim bears His image.
In a world of compassion fatigue its worth thinking about… every life matters.