Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Epiphany 6 A - Deuteronomy 30:15-20

Deuteronomy 30:15-20
“Choose life” (verse 19) seems an obvious choice and would be if death didn't wear all the cool clothes. By that I mean there must be something compelling about cursed ways of being that make them attractive otherwise we would all choose life and never engage in ways of living that promise more than they can deliver. But then these verses are not so much about personal piety as they are about a communal decision to enter a new reality according to the commandments, decrees, and ordinances of God. Of course the promise of prosperity to Israel was not good news to the people who possessed the land that the “choose life” people of Israel were about to enter and in fact the people of God choosing life meant death for every man, woman and child who were living in the land God swore to give to the ancestors of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Which means in the context of possessing the land choosing life for self was to choose death for others and choosing death for oneself meant choosing life for others. If we of the Christian tradition believe Jesus had any insight into what God meant by the commandments, decrees, and ordinances then “love God” and “love others” says it all. (Matthew 22:36-40) Maybe the children of Israel were okay with their decision to choose life for themselves and deal death for everyone else because they were desperate to get out of the desert but it seems to me that if choosing life for one’s self means death for everyone else the only God pleasing choice is life for others and death for self or in other words “we preach Christ crucified.” 

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