Posted by: owizblog | April 9, 2014

Thought For The Day, Radio Scotland, 9 April 2014 MH370

Faint, intermittent pings from the abyssal darkness; candles lit in vigil in the Malaysian darkness; the imagery is compelling. After all this time, we still don’t know the fate of Malaysia Airlines flight MH Three Seven Zero. If the signals detected by Chinese and Australian ships are what everyone hopes they are, and  can be located before the batteries that power them run out, they might lead to the two flight recorders which could help solve the mystery.

There’s that word “mystery”. I’m struck by how many people talking about Flight Three Seven Zero  use the words “mystery”, or “fascinating”,  or “intriguing” – and then rush to say “if it wasn’t for all those poor people, for the families and what they are going through…” In a sense, we all do sit with the families of that sad flight, in their candlelit vigil in Kuala Lumpur. Our humanity holds the two sides of “mystery” together.

On the one hand, an attentive listening to the darkness. On the other, the sending out of frail human signals into the darkness.

 Our culture understands “mystery” as something we don’t know the answer to yet, but eventually will. That’s OK: Jesus says “There is nothing hidden that shall not be revealed…” Technology, engineering, psychology, autonomous scientific disciplines, unencumbered by religion, can unpack a mystery like this. We will, quite properly, hold it as solved when – if – the clues can be found and assembled into an answer.I can only imagine how the families long for that. If, please God, it is forthcoming, the collective vigil will, I imagine, come to an end.

Yet I would also imagine that in hundreds of lives, for many years, all the answers that science can ever give will never be a reason to extinguish the inner flame of vigil. “Whereof we cannot speak, thereof, we must be silent.”  But this silence, too, points beyond itself, points to the “beyond in the midst.”  We interrogate the darkness with science and technology and mysteries yield their answers to our diligence. But in the mystery of our being, we light our flame, and sit, and wait. 

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