BBC Radio Leicester Thought for the Day
© John Denney, 6 October 1999
Yesterday morning, a few hundred people were on their way to work. It was an ordinary day. Last weekend was gone and forgotten, and next weekend too far away to think about. And suddenly, their world was changed forever, as their train collided with another just outside Paddington Station in London. In just a few seconds, some had lost their lives, some had been seriously injured, and others were bruised and battered and shocked.
And that is a bleak and terrible story. But there were good things too. The fire brigade was quickly on the scene and acted in the highest traditions of their service. They saved many lives as they extricated the injured from the wreckage. The paramedic services were also in attendance, rendering aid to the injured. And the hospitals brought their emergency procedures into action, with teams of surgeons and nurses and others working hard to save lives and restore broken bodies.
And the ordinary people of Paddington lent a hand too. Some were early on the scene and helped dazed survivors to safety. Others came out of their houses with blankets. And the local supermarket made its coffee shop a haven for those with minor injuries, and furnished them and rescue workers with tea and coffee.
And these ordinary people, the firemen and ambulancemen and paramedics and railway officials and passengers and the man and woman in the street, are in truth remarkable in their selflessness and care and concern for those afflicted by the disaster.
It is a basic human instinct to rally round the distressed. Time and time again we have seen an extraordinary response to the needs of our fellow men and women. The international teams who swung into action in the recent earthquakes in Turkey and Taiwan, the people who organised and went with relief supplies for the devastated people of Kosovo, and the generous response to famine victims in Ethiopia and elsewhere have all gladdened our hearts in recent years.
And I dare to suggest that this compassion is something planted deep within us by our Creator-God. For in the beginning, when God created man, He created men and women in His own image. And God is love; and His love is given to us all to share and use and demonstrate. And yesterday He used those firemen and medics and all the others, to show to a cynical world the power of love.
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