May 6, 2022

LifeDate Summer 2022

by Pastor Michael Salemink

We aim higher than elections, legislations, and judgments. We aspire to much more than ending abortion. We advocate for respecting and protecting every human life, no matter what his size or her skills or their circumstances. We undertake to see each member of our race received as neighbor, as gift and privilege, and as sister and brother with whom we may share in the blessings of our Heavenly Father’s everlasting inheritance. We intervene with community, purpose, joy, and hope wherever the devil’s deceptions pressure people to use death as a solution for difficulty. We strive to bring about not merely changed regulations or even changed behavior but changed minds, hearts, histories, and eternities.

I’m writing twenty-four hours after the Supreme Court leak. It appears they’re preparing to reverse Roe v. Wade.

Thanks be to God for this magnificent development. He is demonstrating His truth, love, and power in safeguarding the sanctity of every human life: “The Lord works righteousness and justice for all who are oppressed” (Psalm 103:6). He is aligning our elected and appointed officials as His agents of order to serve scientific reality, sound reason, and the common good. And He is continuing to keep our endangered neighbors in the cultural consciousness so that we may have opportunities to witness firsthand and even participate in His ministry and miracles. We rejoice in His faithful grace.

We also owe a debt of gratitude to generations gone before. Their gentle and relentless Gospel-motivated voices For Life have ushered us and our entire country to this point. For fifty years they have carried on and pressed forward, one person and one interaction at a time. They have engaged and embraced neighbors, assembled networks, endured ridicule, and answered objections. With winsome words of courage and enthusiastic acts of compassion, they have sowed seeds, pulled weeds, watered sprouts, and mentored descendants into successors. Any celebration belongs at least as much to them.

For now, the jurisprudence still imposes abortion upon us. The current term of the Supreme Court doesn’t conclude until the end of June. Their majority may yet reconfigure and retreat from this preliminary indication. Even should the speculated direction prevail, individual states may actually expand abortion access within their confines. We discovered five decades ago that, for better or for worse, a verdict settles nothing. Expect congressional efforts at keeping abortion decriminalized to continue and intensify, despite whatever lines the courts draw. “For the devil has come down to you in great wrath, because he knows that his time is short” (Revelation 12:12).

Of course, our faith does not derive from governments. “Put not your trust in princes, in a son of man, in whom there is no salvation” (Psalm 146:3). Our comfort and motivation do not derive from laws. We neither live only according to the body nor labor for this world alone. No matter who holds office or how they decide and lead, the Lord our God reigns. “Jesus Christ the faithful witness, the firstborn of the dead, and the ruler of kings on earth” (Revelation 1:5). Only at His pleasure and permission do they proceed this way or that. Public policy does not amount to an end in itself. It simply contributes to a conducive environment—a free, fair, and safe public square—for proclaiming and practicing the Gospel. Jesus the incarnate, crucified, resurrected, and ascended Savior has already set the ultimate outcome in motion. Life and love, divine favor and salvation have long since overcome, and it only remains for them to completely encompass everything.

So, the concerns and the work go on. Undoing Roe v. Wade won’t erase the trauma, the losses, the grief, and the guilt. Our nation needs to acknowledge and lament the millions prematurely put to death. Our neighborhoods need to repent and rehabilitate lest we repeat the wrongdoing. Untold multitudes of survivors walk wounded right beside us, casualties of counterfeit “equality” and “autonomy.” They await and crave the conviction of God’s Law and the forgiveness in His Gospel that will relieve and heal their consciences.

Surprise pregnancies will still happen. Abuse, abandonment, immaturity, anxiety, pride, and poverty will make abortion appear attractive. Joint efforts and social structures must better address these complications. Some mothers will still terminate their little ones, and others will still encourage and assist them in it. Perhaps it will take place more secretly and more casually, in pharmacies and bathrooms rather than office complexes, with the internet facilitating instead of a doctor in a clinic. But abortion will go on, as it has since time immemorial.

And the evil will learn to disguise itself. Death will discover or invent new avenues, such as euthanasia or embryocidal experimentation. The “sexual revolution” will not rest until it has dissolved every institution, relationship, and identity into bare lust. The same lie—that pleasure or power, performance or property, popularity or appearance define a person’s worth—takes many shapes. As it has defiled countries, communities, families, marriages, adulthoods, and adolescences, it will defile children even where abortion fails to do so.

hatever other type of protests transpire, prayer embodies the best sort. “I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions” (1 Timothy 2:1-2).

Pray for the justices (John, Clarence, Stephen, Samuel, Sonia, Elena, Neil, Brett, and Amy), that God give them wisdom, humility, integrity, and clarity.

Pray for our public servants at local, state, and national levels, that they adhere to and uphold the laws of the land.

Pray for our journalists, that they report fact, truth, and reality.

Pray for our citizens and residents, that they live together in peace and respect.

Pray for our doctors and nurses, that their care ensures survival for all patients.

Pray for those facing surprise pregnancies, that they obtain any assistance and reassurance needed to bear and raise their children.

Pray for those who have undergone abortions, that the Lord’s forgiveness turns them from their sin.

And pray for the Body of Christ, that we speak God’s truth and show Christ’s love fearlessly, persuasively, and effectively.

Let us then take this occasion to speak. Converse about the verdict, the issue, and the sanctity of life. Share information and reflections with anybody interested to listen. Ask questions about their experiences and perspectives. Share in their concerns and dialogue sensitively about their reservations. Cultivate relationships and build trust that treats those with whom God connects you as people and not just opponents or opinions. Research and learn the Scriptures, the science, the language and logic, the legal provisions, and the ethical considerations of the matter. Instruct and educate others, especially children and congregations. Participate in the public discussion by reaching out to elected representatives, medical professionals, newspapers, and social media. Hold authorities, executives, and practitioners accountable to the ordinances. Network and organize with other life-minded folks to amplify these actions. Give financial support to adoption agencies and pregnancy resource centers. Serve the emotional and material needs of expectant mothers and fathers.

This Gospel cause proceeds one life at a time—the one right in front of you. And however this year proceeds after Dobbs, we go forth anno Domini—in the year of our Lord.