Do you remember the days when we used to speak about the ‘jet set’? There was a glamour attached to air travel in those days. Air passengers were greeted like royalty at the check-in desk and were cosseted throughout their flight. Those were the days…
Now we are all members of the jet set. Any trace of glamour has gone. All share in the ritual humiliation of going through security checks, removing our belt and shoes, and having someone rummage through our personal belongings to confiscate items they believe to be a threat to survival. We can pay extra for priority boarding, but what’s the point? We all take off together anyway. The ultimate irony comes when the captain ends his customary pep talk with the words ‘Sit back and enjoy your flight’ – fat chance when we’re herded like cattle and strapped into narrow seats with no leg room.
Don’t we all bristle whenever we are treated as if we don’t matter? The rich and the famous and the powerful always matter. And they are the people who are least sensitive to those who don’t. If those who don’t matter complain, they are dismissed as whingers. The Hillsborough and Grenfell Tower disasters demonstrate that the death of people who don’t matter doesn’t matter. Campaigners for justice have a simple message: ‘We matter!’
The readings for Sunday 15 July speak of how each of us is special in God’s eyes. Amos felt he was nothing special, a shepherd who looked after sycamores. But the Lord took him from herding the flock and made him a prophet. And Paul in his letter to the Ephesians puts it even better: ‘Before the world was made, He chose us, chose us in Christ, to be holy and spotless, and to live through love in His presence.’