Choose Life

By Rev. David Wilson Rogers |  February 15, 2014

            Choose life!
            It is the bold and prophetic command that Moses gave to the people of Israel just before he died and Joshua took his place to lead them across the Jordan and into the Promised Land. “Choose life so that you and your descendants may live.” Moses implores Israel and then proceeds to define that choice by calling the people to a life of loving God, obeying God, and staying close to God.
            On one hand, Moses offers Israel a definitive choice. He leaves it up to the people to decide if they will, or will not, choose life. Yet, in a very real sense, Moses is not giving much of a real choice at all. He is saying that if Israel fails to choose life, Israel will choose death. Either live in blessing, or live in curse. Either know God’s abundance and grace or know the desolation and isolation that comes from being apart from the Creator and Sustainer of all life.
            Due to the political and religious attention that has permeated American Culture for well over 40 years over abortion, the admonition to “choose life” necessarily carries with it a degree of emotional firepower. Some find it to be a rallying call for the cause ending abortion while others find it to be to be an affront to their own understanding of what it means to advocate for reproductive freedom. While remaining definitively relevant to the contentious abortion debate, choosing life transcends the political, social, and religious rhetoric of abortion in many wonderful ways.
            Choosing life begins with the basic understanding of how we, as Christians, understand our relationship with God in every aspect of life—not just the big issues that face our faith in the larger political and religious arenas. Yet, by embracing the daily life choices with faith and prayer, our ability to engage others on the larger issues is greatly enhanced, empowered, and even sanctified by the One who calls us to choose life in the first place.
            Choosing life is about affirming the sanctity of all life and seeking the image of God in humanity. At creation, Genesis reminds us that humans were created in God’s image and called good. God never said that only certain people were created in the Divine Image. God never said that only people that are like us were created in that image. God did not say that only people who retain specific beliefs, pray the right prayers, attend the right churches, or attend to the proper rituals of faith are created in the sacred image. Choosing life begins with affirming a simple, yet profound truth. All people are created in God’s image.
            Genesis further illustrates that God breathed into the nostrils of the first human and gave life. That life—the very Spirit of God—is more than just the air we breathe. It is the essence of God’s life that gives us our own life. So long as there is breath in our lungs, people carry a Divine Spirit within, a Spirit that, as Ecclesiastes 12:7 reminds us, returns to our Divine Creator at the end of our earthly life.
Our calling is to choose life. That is to affirm, bless, and cultivate the richness of life in all others—a calling that is lived through loving service rather than self-righteous control or judgment. Attitudes that condemn, discourage, or trump on others, controlling behaviors or dogmatic judgment which only squelches the vibrant spirit of others, or violence that injures the very heart and soul of others are ways that we fail to choose life. As Christians, let us truly choose life and live that choice by blessing, enhancing, and enriching the lives all in God’s creation.