Sunday, February 9, 2020

Deuteronomy 30.15-20: Choosing

I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Choose life... (Deuternonomy 30:15-20) Two choices. Who wouldn't choose life? Blessings are much better than woes. But it usually doesn't work that easily, does it? Somehow when two roads diverge in a wood, yellow or otherwise, there isn't always a sign that says, "Don't want woes? Take the other way!"  Sometimes the way to woes seems more enticing than the way to blessings. Or maybe we imagine that the way to woes will eventually curve around to blessings, because look how pleasant this way looks. The choice is sometimes harder that it might seem.

The moment of choice is sometimes characterized as standing at a crossroads. With multiple ways to go, which will you choose?
Image from ReMastered: Devil at the Crossroads. Courtesy of Netflix.
Blues musician Robert Johnson (b. 1911) wrote, sang, and played the blues, though not very well at first. Playing for tips on street corners, Johnson sought out musicians like Son House to teach him how to play. In the early 1930s, Johnson disappeared for about a year from the juke joints and house parties that were home to music and musicians playing the blues. When Johnson reappeared, his playing had unnaturally improved. And the legend arose: Johnson had gone to the crossroads* and sold his soul to the devil in exchange for the ability to play and sing the blues better than anyone. And he did. By all accounts that midnight choice at the crossroads led to the skill and fame that were promised, but it didn't solve Johnson's problems. Not by a long shot. In 1938 Johnson became a member of the 27 Club.

Life or death. Blessings or curses. Prosperity or adversity. When you stand at the crossroads, which will you choose? Who will you choose?

* Two different crossroads are identified as the site of Johnson's bargain: the intersection of Hwys 49 and 61 in Clarksdale, MS, and the intersection of Hwys 1 and 8 in Rosedale, MS. 

This week on Art&Faith Matters on Facebook, a contemporary photographer takes a look at people at a crossroads. (Yep, those are stormtroopers...) 

For thoughts on I Corinthians 3:1-9, click here.

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