Deuteronomy 30: 15-20
15 See, I have set before you today life and prosperity, death and adversity. 16 If 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. 17 But if your heart turns away and you do not hear, but are led astray to bow down to other gods and serve them, 18 I 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. 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.
Goodness me the phrase “Choose life” in this reading, it takes me back 20 years to the first iteration of the movie ‘Trainspotting’. A gritty morality tail based in the drug dens of a 90s Edinburgh.
I lived it, a medical student and sometime paramedic during the Festival in the 1990s, sharing a joke with the Leith Walk prostitutes while Sector Ranging and resuscitating overdoses in the small hours when they were dumped outside ERI or simply in the streets.
In all of this, life in the raw, there were scenes of quiet and wonderful humanity.The women whose last act before her fatal MI was to put her grandchildren’s Christmas presents under the tree, the man who gave mouth to mouth to a stranger in a doorway, and the mother who ran carrying her teenage son to the next door neighbour when he fell unconscious.
Selflessness in an era of self. Compassion without thought of reward. God amongst us.
Lord, you are in everything
You are in the kindness of strangers
In the quiet word from a friend that made all the difference
In the unconscious held hand when we faced an abyss
In the smile that came at just the right time
In the inappropriate joke that just lifted the mood when all felt lost
In the post on social media that bizarrely made us feel we weren’t alone
In the surprising landscape that caught us up short
In the song we thought we had forgotten that gave us hope
All these gifts
All these ordinary angels
Witness the promise of God.