November 27, 2023

LifeDate Winter 2023 – Just As … I AM

by Pastor Paul Clark, President of LFL of Michigan

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, in his poem, “The Day Is Done,” makes a reference to the poets and songwriters of old, who comfort us through their words. Longfellow writes:

Such songs have power to quiet
The restless pulse of care,
And come like the benediction
That follows after prayer.

The road that we as Lutherans who stand For Life have trod is long and often very wearing. We are especially aware of that now with the anti-life climate in the state of Michigan. Yet, we march on, weary but not defeated. We are deeply saddened by the lack of empathy for the most vulnerable among us, and yet we are not surprised. We know that the dark shadow of Satan still falls over this world, and that in that shadow there is much pain, sorrow, and anguish, and of course, just plain evil in this world. The open season in many states on our unborn babies is solid evidence of that.

Yet there is light. There is joy. There is hope. Because this world was invaded by God in Jesus Christ, who came into this world to save sinners. Hebrews 2:14-15 reminds us of this imperishable truth:

“Since therefore the children share in flesh and blood, he himself likewise partook of the same things, that through death he might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil, and deliver all those who through fear of death were subject to lifelong slavery.”

Jesus is the One who came to give us life, abundant life, endless life. A new beginning. The anticipation of a new world.

The blood of Jesus cleanses us of all sin. Thanks be to God!

So, we keep on! Yet, oh, how toilsome that long road can be. How overwhelming, the loud and often angry voices of those arrayed against us—against life—can be! It can be daunting, even frightening, to make a firm stand For Life. Yet make that stand we must, for this is who we are as the people of God. Human life has value and deserves protection, and we cannot back away from our calling to be the salt of the earth, even though our hearts grow weary.

But, as Longfellow wrote, there are “songs that have the power to quiet the restless pulse of care.” We have the treasury of the life-affirming and faith-building hymns of the Church.

As we strive to push forward in the battle for life, and as we struggle to see clearly through the smoke and stench of this twisted, hate-filled, lie-driven culture of death that surrounds us, we do so with the words and melodies of the great songs of faith dwelling in our hearts, resounding in our ears, and pouring forth from our lips.

“On Christ, the solid Rock I stand; all other ground is sinking sand.” LSB 575

“I know that my Redeemer lives, what comfort this sweet sentence gives … He lives and grants me daily breath; He lives, and I shall conquer death.” LSB 461

“Christ has triumphed! He is living! Alleluia!” LSB 465

“Awake, my heart, with gladness, see what today is done; Now after gloom and sadness, Comes forth the glorious sun!” LSB 467

“Entrust your days and burdens to God’s most loving hand … Take heart, have hope, my spirit, and do not be dismayed; God helps in every trial, and makes you unafraid. Await His time with patience through darkest hours of night, until the sun you hoped for delights your eager sight.” LSB 754

“This world’s prince may still scowl fierce as he will, he can harm us none. He’s judged; the deed is done: One little Word can fell him.” LSB 656

Sing the songs of the faith. Hurl them against the darkness of the world, the devil, even your own sinful flesh. God is good, and He is the Lord of Life. Armed with His Word and comforted by the songs of the faith, we will not grow weary, we will not give up the fight, and we will never stop speaking of the hope that is in us.

The Lord’s benediction rests upon us. HE blesses us. HE keeps us. Lift up your heads. Speak for those who cannot speak for themselves.

Sing! Pray! March on! IN JESUS! Amen.