Thursday, 13 February 2014

Choose Life!

This Reflection was written for the Abingdon Creative Preaching Annual 2014

Deuteronomy 30:15-20
15 See, I have set before you today life and prosperity, death and adversity. 16If you obey the commandments of the Lord your God that I am commanding you today, by loving the Lord your God, walking in his ways, and observing his commandments, decrees, and ordinances, then you shall live and become numerous, and the Lord your God will bless you in the land that you are entering to possess. 17But if your heart turns away and you do not hear, but are led astray to bow down to other gods and serve them, 18I declare to you today that you shall perish; you shall not live long in the land that you are crossing the Jordan to enter and possess. 19I call heaven and earth to witness against you today that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Choose life so that you and your descendants may live, 20loving the Lord your God, obeying him, and holding fast to him; for that means life to you and length of days, so that you may live in the land that the Lord swore to give to your ancestors, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob. 

Moses’ speech in Deuteronomy 30, is some speech from a man who, when God called him, could barely speak. Moses has come a long way. And so have the people he leads.
They have been through a lot together and they have learned a lot together.
Moses implores them to always keep in mind the God who has directed their lives, the God who calls them to live in love – loving God, loving each other and loving their neighbor.

The Kings Speech is an award winning movie about the life of King George VI.
It is the true story of how the King who was never expected to accede to the throne overcame major speech difficulties. With the help and friendship of an unorthodox Speech Therapist, he overcame an impairment that had inhibited and plagued his life.
The Speech Therapist believed in him and persisted in his work with and encouragement of the King until he was able to address the Nation in a trying time of war with confidence.
The King was finally able to find his voice and become a leader.

In 2011, thanks to extensive world media coverage, we were enabled to witness the Egypt of today finding voice. As the world looked on, voices raised for justice brought down a 30 year long dictatorship.
Cries of Get Out! became cries of Freedom. Persistent voices for justice were heard and Egypt was changed forever.
One image that captured the world’s empathy was an image of Muslims at prayer, surrounded by Christians joining hands, forming a human chain to protect their brothers and sisters at prayer.
And then there were some wonderful images of the celebrations in Tahrir Square in Cairo – of people cleaning up. Cleaning up because they recognized that the achievement of the freedom they demanded is not the end of their journey but only the beginning.
Everyone was now required to play their part in rebuilding a nation and in ensuring that what they build is true democracy.
And that’s where the challenge lies.
Building on the foundations that have been laid. Building freedom. Building justice.
Finding voice is important. But it is not enough.
Throughout history we have heard enough voices raised – and listened to – that seek power.
But that power has not always been built on justice.
And so we have oppressive regimes all around the world.
Often these regimes started out with hope, attracted supporters by fine orations – but then perpetrated evil.

Voices are important.
But in voices raised there must be sounds of truth and of justice.
Moses’ exhortation to the Israelites is for them to choose life by building on the commandments of God – to practice love and justice, to walk in the ways of truth.
And the exhortation for us today is to remember whose we are and whom we serve – wherever we are.

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