Thursday, May 18, 2006

Choose Life!

One more Release Time lesson from ages ago. For anyone who didn't scroll back to where I began this series, these are lessons I wrote during the last century for 4th and 5th grader inner-city youngsters. By the way, the kids in the program who attended church were from the African-American free church tradition and most of them were excellent theologians, meaning great discussions for me as one of their teachers!
  • Life! Life?! Life.
  • What is it?
  • Where is it?
  • How do we get life?
  • How do we know we have life?
  • How do we give life?
From the first moment of creation, God has acted to give us life. God made us to be completely alive. Whenever God does something it's always in ways that will give us the very best kind of life there is.

From the book of Genesis in the beginning of the Bible, through the last book of the Bible, Revelation, we read about God giving us, his people, everything we needed for life to be complete. One of the most important facets of life we read about in Genesis is the very close relationship people had with God and with one another. After those relationships were broken by sin, there was no way in the world people could come back together with each other and with God. Only God could mend his broken world.

Because of Jesus Christ's death on the cross of Good Friday and his rising from death to new life on Easter dawn, all creation can live in brand-new life. For comparison, here are three different translations of Deuteronomy 30:19-20:
Deuteronomy 30

19 I 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, 20 loving 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. NRSV

19 "I call heaven and earth to witness against you today, that I have set before you life and death, the blessing and the curse. So choose life in order that you may live, you and your descendants, 20 by loving the LORD your God, by obeying His voice, and by holding fast to Him; for this is your life and the length of your days, that you may live in the land which the LORD swore to your fathers, to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, to give them." NASB

19 I call Heaven and Earth to witness against you today: I place before you Life and Death, Blessing and Curse. Choose life so that you and your children will live. 20 And love GOD, your God, listening obediently to him, firmly embracing him. Oh yes, he is life itself, a long life settled on the soil that GOD, your God, promised to give your ancestors, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. MSG
Choose life! In the birth, life, death and resurrection of Jesus, God already has given us life, but God doesn't force it on us. The Bible passage says that by loving and obeying God, we choose life. In God's Word, the Bible, and in God's Son Jesus Christ, we see and learn that loving and obeying God is something we do in our daily lives with one another. It means being kind, considerate, generous and thoughtful to other people. Loving God and obeying God also includes means being a caretaker of the earth and of all creation.

Since God gives us life, we are able to love God and obey him by loving other people. We give them life by being open to God's way and by walking the paths God shows us.

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