Choose Life by the Rev. Dr. John Joseph Mastandrea – Manor Road United Church Choose Life by the Rev. Dr. John Joseph Mastandrea – Manor Road United Church

February 16, 2020

Choose Life by the Rev. Dr. John Joseph Mastandrea

Passage: Deuteronomy 30:15-20 ;1 Corinthians 3:1-9 ; Matthew 5:21-37
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Bible Text: Deuteronomy 30:15-20 ;1 Corinthians 3:1-9 ; Matthew 5:21-37 | Preacher: The Rev. Dr. John Joseph Mastandrea | We are the life!

This connection to life happens in epic moments and quiet times. It happens when we are still and while we walking in the world.

This is one moment for me. I was part of the performing community of Etobicoke Musical players. We were performing “Fiddle on the Roof”. I auditioned and was cast in the role of the Russian “Fyedka” and also was able to play a villager in the crowd. It was at that time that I learned the song “To Life, To Life, L’Chaim”.  The words to life are frequently part of a Jewish toast, proclaimed at times and events of celebration.

When we speak these words “to life” they are visceral they come from the centre of our being. In the text the writers from Deuteronomy, proclaim, “Today I set before you life and prosperity”.

Today we deliver promise, to face the consequences and to confront the challenges. When we choose life, you see that, “Loving God means, life.”  It is a life that means observance to preserve God’s covenant in our relationship with each other.

It was anarchist Emma Goldman whose life was devoted to the fight for freedom.

A freedom that ignites us to grow with God. We grow when we recall and remember the shadows of the past.

We grow when we confront the pain and despair of our world and our lives.

We grow when are reconciled with our brother and sister.

We grow when we plant the seed and pollinate the flower of forgiveness and reconciliation.

We grow when we confront our accuser and boldly walk the path of the great turning.

We grow when we realize that the world needs a new spiritual order. We need a community of people from varied belief systems who share a passion for saving our common home; the earth.

We are God’s servants working together; we are the field that God is planting and building for today.

We are the life! Today God sets before us life and prosperity. Today we proclaim

That loving God means life. Today God gives growth and empowers us to be reconciled to our brother and sister.  Today we offer our gifts in the face of tensions and to mend relationships in quest for the life of meaning and purpose.  Non-violence is the universal ethic at the heart of creation. Today we are called to choose life.

Many years ago, my friend Kelly Walker, taught me the song “Here’s to Life”

In 2004 it was played at our wedding and In 2007 it was played at the death of my mother- in law Anna Mae Calkins.


Here’s to life!

Have no complaints and no regretsI and still believe in chasing dreams and placing bets
But I have learned that all you give is all you get. So give it all you’ve got

I had my share. I drank my fill.
And even though I’m satisfied I’m hungry still
To see what’s down another road beyond the hill.
And do it all again the game I want to play
For laughs for life, for love so here’s to life
And every joy it brings. Here’s to life for dreamers and their dreams
May all your storms be weathered!
May all your storms be weathered
And all that’s good get better. Here’s to life. Here’s to love. Here’s to you!


Here’s life. Choose life to walk in the land of the ancestors

Here’s to life to let our yes be yes and our no be no.

Here’s to life to name our ancestors that created our inmost self. Here’s to life to climb the mountain that separates us from yesterday and tomorrow, from sorrow and consolation

Here’s to life, to Sally Armstrong, the Massey Lecturer, who writes in her book, “Power  Shift: The Longest Revolution” the only way forward for all of us, men as well as women is for women to become truly equal with men.”

Choose life. Today I set before you life and prosperity.

We are the life.

Adam Gopnik writes in his book, “The Change of World View”


““There are no atheists in foxholes, and no liberals in bar fights, and what do we say?

“Choose Life!”


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