by Rev. Dr. James I. Lamb, former executive director of Lutherans For Life
Serendipitous some would call it. Maybe others, a “God thing.” I stood in back of the Iowa District East convention assembly when President Saunders announced the overturning of Roe v. Wade on June 24 (also observed as the Nativity of leaping-for-joy-womb-resident John the Baptist, by the way!). Next to me stood Dr. Peter Scaer, Fort Wayne professor and convention essayist. He has been a great voice For Life, a friend of LFL, and my personal friend as well. We have spoken together on several occasions over the years. As the delegates stood and sang the doxology, we both wept. He then grabbed me and took a selfie!
Later, before he began his presentation, he addressed the historic ruling. He mentioned the serendipitous moment described above. Then, to my surprise, he called me his hero in the life movement and lauded my work as leader of LFL. He then asked the convention to acknowledge that work. That resulted in a standing ovation.
What I want the readers of this article to know is you are the real heroes, and you deserve that standing “O” much more than I did. I did my best to make that clear as people came up to me afterward with congratulations and acknowledgements. And I want to make it clear to you now. Oh, I know you do not see yourself as the hero type but as a servant of the Lord of Life. That makes you even more heroic in my book! But remember, it is okay once in a while to receive acknowledgement for your long-standing service promoting and protecting God’s gift of life.
We read in Leviticus 25:8-10: “You shall count seven weeks of years, seven times seven years, so that the time of the seven weeks of years shall give you forty-nine years. Then you shall sound the loud trumpet on the tenth day of the seventh month. On the Day of Atonement you shall sound the trumpet throughout all your land. And you shall consecrate the fiftieth year, and proclaim liberty throughout the land to all its inhabitants.”
I’m not the first to point this out. We labored for forty-nine years under Roe v. Wade—2023 would have been year fifty. But it will not be! We have a Jubilee instead, a trumpet to sound and liberty to proclaim throughout the land! Do so! Celebrate! Praise and thank our life-giving Lord. Enjoy a standing “O”!
But now back to work. For, as you know, the liberty we proclaim is not complete liberty from the killing of unborn children. However, we can now proclaim that those who champion and celebrate such killing have lost the high ground. No more can they retreat and take a stand on a faulty claim of constitutional right. Now they must deal with the voice of the people. That would be your voice. That would be your Gospel-motivated voice For Life.
For we have, and always will have, the high ground. We find it just outside the walls of Jerusalem, the place of the skull, Golgotha. There we saw a life-giving death. And nearby in an empty tomb we saw death giving way to life, new life now, resurrected life forever. From this high ground comes the message we proclaim throughout the land. This high ground moves us to boldness in defending all life and showing compassion to all struggling with life.
The need for our voices will be greater now. Many who were once smugly silent have found voice. Some of them are in our pews. I was struck by the number of Facebook posts shared with me by pastors at recent conventions. Their reactions went something like, “Wow! I didn’t know he/she was in favor of abortion.”
From our high ground of Golgotha comes the compassionate action we will continue to share throughout the land. The need will be greater now. Amidst the ever-growing list of companies paying for travel to have children killed, we need to be all the more ready to share the other choices, choices for good, choices for life, choices for doing what is right. No travel needed! We are right here to love and help in any way and every way possible.
I have been humbled and proud to serve with so many For Life heroes over the years. It was an honor to receive a standing “O” on your behalf. It’s okay for all of us to receive some acknowledgement once in a while. You deserve it. So, listen to the standing “O,” LFL-ers. Take a little bow, enjoy it . . . . . . . . . Okay, long enough! Now back to serving the Lord of Life with Gospel-motivated voices and actions louder and more compassionate than ever.