Faith Matters

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By Rev. Dr. Brian Gigee

 “ON LIFE and DEATH!”

   “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.” -Deuteronomy 30:19-20

Some have wondered already… ‘will it get worse before it gets better?”  Maybe. Probably.  Not sure.  Time will tell.  It’s not a new thing.  It’s just a new thing for us.  The landscape seems to be shifting daily… by the hour even.  It feels like riding a roller coaster for the first time and not knowing how to manage the curves and the dips from one end to the other.  And there is no ticket for this ride.  We are all in the front seat.  Hold on.  Faith matters.  Doubters beware.  At least this won’t be wandering in the wilderness for forty years like Moses and the Israelites.  Yet, the choices of life and death seem to be as real for us as they were for them.

So, when it comes to life and death circumstances, how prepared for that reality are we? For any of us?  Some people have taken to cursing.  Some are stepping back to count their blessings and others have taken to the stores after counting the number of toilet paper rolls they have at home.  And that is a different kind of wandering within the wondering and wandering we are all encountering as we make choices today that will impact our children and grandchildren.  It’s not new; it’s just our turn.

And, there is an outcome. It just may not be the one we choose or like!

It seems that this invisible virus has had its way with us.  All of us.  The CDC (Center for Disease Control) is still discovering more about Covid-19 even as I type these words.  We sort of know what it’s like and sort of know what it’s not like and certainly know that it’s lethal… especially to the elderly who have a reduced immune system and as well as children and others with a compromised immune system.  Social distancing seems to be the ‘behavior du jour’ and that hurts as we were created to be in communion with God and with one another…

In the Bible quote from Deuteronomy 30, Moses speaks harshly to his people.  He spells out a recipe’ that many refuse to abide by… even today… 1. Life is hard. 2.  It’s not about you.  3. Life’s bigger than you.  4.  You can’t control it.  5. You will die.  Yet, there are choices before us.  We can listen to the health authorities or do whatever we want.  We can obey civic and governmental voices or disregard their words and do as we please.   Either way, there will be consequences.  But they will be different.

Face it… none of us really wants to deal with ‘life and death’ when we are having so much fun living.  “Leave the dying to someone else,” we say.  Yet, Moses and the Israelites may have felt something altogether unique.  They were close to the ‘promised land’ even though some wanted to go back to slavery in Egypt.  No one in their community had ever been.  In search of a new normal of ‘milk and honey’ was certainly the hope of most.  And for us, we remember too quickly how life was just before Christmas.  Many felt blessed.  We had little to curse.  Now life and death seem much more real.  They are.

Taking to heart the sense we are blessed will take us further than any cursing could accomplish.  As we are all being affected by something we cannot see, we will all be affected, as well, by the love and kindness we must share with and see in each other.  This is the life we must choose… a life of love … always… so that our children will live well and know how to live when their turn comes around.  Faith matters.

Rev. Dr. Brian K. Gigee is long-time resident of Pearland and the pastor at New Life Lutheran Church at 3521 E. Orange St. in Olde Towne Pearland.  You can follow him on twitter at https://twitter.com/Friend2theRabbi  Your comments and/or questions can be sent to [email protected].

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