Today Moses takes the podium with a clear choice for the people. (DEUT 30: 15-20) “Today I set before you,” he says, “life and prosperity, death and doom.” Who wouldn’t choose the first option? Oh, but there are conditions: obeying the commandments, statutes and decrees he sets down, walking in God’s ways rather than adoring their other gods… Not so simple when I start reflecting on the everyday experience of my living…(What “other gods” are still pulling me in the wrong direction? I ask myself.)
Moses is persistent, repeating his charge again and urging them toward the correct choice, saying, “Choose life, then, that you and your descendants may live, loving the Lord, your God, heeding his voice, and holding fast to him…” (Sounds like a choice that would be hard to resist, but then I think of the habits that are so persistent, especially in the down, difficult days of winter…)
A more evocative version of the challenge, perhaps, came to me long ago from Sister Helen Kelley, whose name remains anonymous to me but whose words always return when I listen to the speech of Moses in Deuteronomy.
Choose life, only that and always, and at whatever risk. To let life leak out, to let is wear away by the mere passage of time, to withhold giving it and spreading it is to choose nothing. (See berkana.org)