Sometimes, but not always, the Lectionary provides readings which complement, or reinforce, each other. Today is such a day. The Common Worship Daily Eucharistic readings are: Deuteronomy 30: 15-end, Psalm 1 and Luke 9, 22-25.
All of these texts encourage readers to make a positive choice to follow God and, warn of the consequences of rejecting God’s invitation to follow him.
Deuteronomy urges us to ‘choose life so that you and your descendants may live, loving the Lord your God, obeying him and holding fast to him; for that means life to you and length of days…’ The writer reminds us that our choices carry with them both short-term (temporal) and long-term consequences; ‘life to you and length of days.’ But, the consequences of our choices can never be solely personal, for the text makes it clear that the choices we make affect all of our descendants. If the consequence of the ‘Pro Life’ choice is just that, life, the result of alternative choices, choices which in any case result in the worship of ‘other gods,’ is to perish. Serving other gods, at best, can only have psychological short-term ‘benefits.’ The Pro Life choice has eternal spiritual consequences.
The Psalmist suggests that to make the ‘Pro Life’ choice is to be blessed and, to ‘bear fruit in due season.’ Fruit does not exist for its own sake, its only utility is in its ability to nourish. So as we become fruitful we feed and nourish others. But, what about the sting in the tale, the reference to bearing fruit in ‘due season.’ Maybe this is where the Gospel reading can come to our aid?
‘If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me. For those who want to save their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake will save it. What does it profit them if they gain the whole world, but lose or forfeit themselves.’
Again we are presented with the choice – the Pro Life choice, but we are also asked to embrace a paradox. Life results from death and, it is through the pain of picking up our cross that we gain life. There will be pain and suffering in our Christian journey, we will be called on to bear ‘unreasonable agonies,’ to live with criticism, to undertake seemingly impossible tasks. But if we have made the Pro Life choice we can take up our cross hopeful, no confident, of resurrection glory, both in this life and the world to come, knowing that our choices will, in due course, bear fruit, not only for us, but also for those we love and pray for. Amen.
Are you making the Pro Life choice?