Life or Death? You Choose
May 16, 2013

Excerpt from Deuteronomy 30:15-20

"I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses.   Choose life so that you and your descendants may live."

Martin B. Copenhaver

People of faith and faith communities can play a unique role in addressing the environmental crisis.  That does not mean we will, however.

There is a story about a Zen master who is known for his wisdom, for always having the right answer to difficult questions.  Then comes a day when one of his prideful disciples decides to challenge the master.  He holds a small bird in his closed hand and asks, "Master, is the bird alive or dead?"

The question is intended to be a trap.  If the master says that the bird is alive, the disciple can merely crush it in his hand, place the bird at the feet of the master and say, "No, you are wrong.  The bird is dead."  And if the master says, "The bird is dead," the disciple can then prove the master wrong by opening his hand and letting the bird fly away.  The master pauses, and then repeats the question:  "Is the bird alive or dead?"  And then he adds:  "It is as you will."

It seems to me that also is the appropriate answer, and perhaps the only answer, to the question:  "Is our earthly home as we know it on its way to extinction or to new life?"

"It is as you will," says our Master.

Prayer

Creator God, show us ways - real and concrete ways - we can choose the way of life rather than death, both for ourselves and for your creation.

About the Author
Martin B. Copenhaver is Senior Pastor, Wellesley Congregational Church, United Church of Christ, Wellesley, Massachusetts. He is the author, with Lillian Daniel, of This Odd and Wondrous Calling: the Public and Private Lives of Two Ministers.
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