Our culture has been numbed: Emotionally & spiritually stunted: Watching minor celebrities come out of a Big Brother house or the jungle, growing fat & helpless on our DFS interest free sofas, living interest free lives.
This week, for once, we have sat up. Emotionally overwhelmed in a genuine 'world' event, watching miners who are now majors. True celebrities emerging from a hole deep underground.
The whole planet was gripped for a few hours. Whatever your time zone, this scene became the sole focus of our attention, the subject of our water cooler conversations at the office. TV's, the internet, blogs & good old fashioned newsprint had our real attention again at last, & recalled how to hold it, how to keep us there for 'just one more'. People couldn't go to bed. Grown men from Hemel Hempstead wept tears for the first time since they stayed up all night to cheer Rhona Martin onto Curling gold at the Winter Olympics in 2002!
Even the inevitable jokes began making their 'bad comedy world tour' by email......'I switched off after the first couple of Chilean Miners were rescued....You've seen Juan, you've seen them all'......made me smile anyway!
What strange magic took us over? What is being called out in me as I watch this with millions of new friends around the world? What is this I feel awakening that for so much of the time is so dormant?
Surely it's just that we love a happy ending; a good news story, a grand redemptive theme? Isn't it just the flip side response to the pointless death of aid worker Linda Norgrove who was the unlucky one this week - failing to be rescued from her captors in Afghanistan? This is normal news - Don't we deserve a happy pill from time to time, a little opium for the masses?
Or is it perhaps that just for a moment, as we stand together around the world, putting aside our preoccupation with self & the minutiae of D list Celebs, we are awakened to the glimmer of a greater narrative - the hope of a big story in which we ourselves are rescued, where our futile lives find meaning, where our daily, grinding ordinariness is illuminated with purpose?
Maybe, just maybe God really has planted eternity in the human heart? Maybe it needed a long night of the soul in the company of Sky News & the Chilean miners to shine the first rays of light, to stir in us too the question; 'Will someone please rescue me?'