A prominent Presidential Candidate is asking us to declare, “Which side are you on?”
The scriptures this Sunday ask the same question, starting with God speaking through Moses, telling us we have to choose one side or another: the side of life for ourselves and future generations, or the side of death. God wants to know, “Which side are you on?” Today future generations clearly will live or die depending on our choice.
More than a thousand years after Moses, Jesus came along and described the side of life more fully. He said it was the side of the poor in spirit, the meek, the merciful, the peacemaker, the social justice worker. He taught that we join the side of life by losing our old false-self illusory life of pride and greed in order to gain the life that truly is life, the life of unconditional love and compassion for all creation. Jesus wants to know, “Which side are you on?” Future generations will live or die depending on our choice.
If you read the scriptures, it makes so much sense which side we need to choose. If you look at the world today, it makes so much plain common sense to take a stand on the side of love and compassion, on the side of peace, justice and the care of God’s creation, because who wants to live in a loveless, hard hearted, violent, unfair, toxic world? Who wants the consequences? Really! For goodness sake! How can this even be a choice?
And yet here we are, and the other side not only has fanatical support, it appears to be winning. It appears on the brink of destroying democracy, human civilization, even our entire species along with most others. We were told clearly what the choice was, life or death, a future for our children or no future, and the dominant forces in our government and culture at this moment have chosen the side of death.
And yet…we appear to be on the brink of a major shift. Paul Hawken has done exhaustive research and discovered the largest social movement in the history of the world, involving as many as two million organizations and tens of millions of people, working in hundreds of different ways, all choosing life so that we and our descendants may live in a sustainable, just, peaceful, healthy world. (See Hawken’s book Blessed Unrest.) The more people who choose this side and dedicate their lives to it, the better chance we have of saving all that we love.
Which side are you on?
We have the guidance we need, we can see what we each have to do in order to join the side of life. The scriptures and spiritual wisdom throughout the ages tell us, and especially the truly amazing insights that are arising now, just when we need them most.
We will reflect on this in worship this Sunday. We will hear passages from Deuteronomy 30, Sirach 15, I Corinthians 3 and Matthew Chapters 4 and 5. We will sing “Now in the Days of Youth,” “Dear God, Embracing Humankind (aka Dear Lord and Father of Mankind)” and a new hymn set to the same old tune as the Navy Hymn, “The Future of the World Depends.” The choir will sing the beautiful Spanish song, “Pues si vivimos” and a setting of “What Does the Lord Require” by the Rev. Will Burhans and Carl Recchia. The Anthem will be “You Say” by popular Christian singer Lauren Daigle, a song about what it is like to be on the side of God’s unconditional love. (You can see her music video below.) Choir Director and Pianist Annemieke McLane will play pieces by Bela Bartok and J. S. Bach.