Grace and peace to you and through you
“I have set before you life and death … choose life!” (Deut. 30:19). This is our primary choice: life or death. The roots of all other choices are planted within this primary choice. And the fruit of all other choices nourish one or the other.
The Creator of Life – God – calls us to honour life as our primary priority. Meaning, we are to orientate our living to value, protect, heal, mend, treasure, share, give and affirm life in all we are and do. When we do this we honour the Creator of Life regardless of what religion or faith perspective we have or not. Note: God cares more about whether we honour life than what religion we subscribe to and probably only appreciates our religion to the extent it helps us to honour life.
We are commanded not only to treasure our own life, but all life. Jesus states clearly that if we only treasure our own life we will lose it … as well as cause death all around us. All life includes the lives of all people, all creatures and all of creation.
In this death-dealing world we need people to choose life. This means we need people who are humble enough to admit that we are part of the death-dealing in greater or lesser degrees and to take responsibility to do something to move from a greater to a lesser death-dealing degree. It also means that we need to fear our fears more than anything else – because in a state of fear we tend to make and justify decisions that destroy life.
The reason I want to learn to be a follower of Jesus is because of how he honoured life by choosing life in all he did – and in this way he honoured the Creator of Life.
The reason I want to learn to be a follower of Jesus is because Jesus refused to be part of the death-dealing systems of his day. In this he exposed the deathly systems that people actually thought of as life-giving. For example – he would question the purpose of the Sabbath that people religiously adhered to without thinking if it were bringing life or death. Jesus is not interested in religious practice per se but only whether our religious practice affirms and nourishes life – especially life of the marginalised and suffering. “Is it lawful to do good or to do harm on the Sabbath, to save life or to kill?” (Mark 3:4).
The reason I want to learn to be a follower of Jesus is because Jesus submitted his fear to the love he received from the Creator and the love he had for all life – all people. This love – received and shared – gave him the strength to rather give up his life for the sake of others than save his own life at the expense of others. Ultimately this is what choosing life rather than death boils down to.
During the Wednesdays of LENT – starting on ASH Wednesday (1st March) we will meet to reflect on the Sermon on the Mount as Jesus’ Manifesto for Life. From the Sermon on the Mount we will journey to Mount Calvary where Jesus lived out what he preached.