It has been an amazing start to the New Year! I find myself flooded with questions and so many new requests for Life Teams all across the country! Praise God for new teams starting up in California, South Dakota, and Ohio in January. Here are a few experiences from the field I would like in particular to share.
In January, I facilitated an Owen’s Mission presentation at an urban Lutheran school at the invitation of the congregational pastor and principal. The students there were delightful and very engaging in their questions about the development of the “babies”—the fetal models. They were in awe at how perfectly formed they were—while ever so small. I shared with them the message that “every person is a person, no matter how small” and each precious and unique and loved by God! After fond goodbyes with my new little friends, I noticed as I was heading back to the expressway that I drove right past a Planned Parenthood office. How innocent and inviting it looked with its bright pink awning. It was within easy walking distance from the beautiful church and school I had just visited—and those precious children. The extremely gracious and very life-affirming pastor shared with me that he’d never noticed the Planned Parenthood office before the prior Sunday and wants now to make sure he has life-affirming, helpful materials in the church to potentially save lives and help the surrounding community with better alternatives. The presentations, materials, and message we share are creating much needed awareness of the dangers that lurk all around us. We could not do this without your very generous support. Thank you! You are making a difference!
Another recent experience was at a ladies Bible study. The topic: end-of-life issues. The organizer, being familiar with me from other service projects but not so familiar with LFL, invited me to talk about the practical aspects of advance directives and how to speak to your family about these issues. She shared that she was afraid people there would be offended. To her relief, the presentation was well-attended and well-received as something helpful, very practical, and an encouragement for all people to stop, think, and plan for Christian wishes to be carried out in what is becoming increasingly a culture of death. Assisted suicide legislation looms ominously in many parts of our country.
We must create awareness of this in our churches and in our communities to help both those struggling and those who will be dealing with these issues soon.
Many think that Lutherans For Life is just an anti-abortion group. We need to collectively share that our mission is multi-faceted. We uphold the sanctity of human life at all stages from conception to natural death. We choose life over death.
Finally, on January 18 (Life Sunday), I participated in the Chicago March for Life. I was surrounded by about 4,000 people of all ages, races, and walks of life. There was a myriad of speakers including Archbishop Cupich of Chicago; Abby Johnson, former Planned Parenthood Director; Katie Melody of Students for Life; elected officials; and those helped through pregnancy centers to choose life. A small but faithful band of Lutherans walked with me and added their voices and witness to the peaceful and family-friendly crowd. Students for Life of Illinois hosted the event and spoke about what it is like to be “coming of age in a culture of death,” knowing that in their lifetime it would have been perfectly legal for their mom to have killed them before they were born. Their fear now is that as assisted-suicide and taking one’s own life becomes more socially acceptable in the mainstream media and worldview, their friends caught in a life struggle might choose death over life. As Katie Melody said, “They are survivors in the culture of death.”
In his Life Sunday sermon, our host pastor, Rev. Dr. Vernon Wendt of Messiah Lutheran in Chicago, talked about how some may think it silly or a waste of time to go out and speak For Life. He asked, “What can we do in speaking to the culture of death?” He beautifully shared the story of Joshua and the wall at Jericho. The faithful saints in that story who gathered around and shouted out on God’s command probably looked crazy to some of those watching. Our job is to be faithful in speaking and to remember confidently that the victory is already won. The battle is God’s—not ours! The victory has been won through Christ on the cross. Thanks be to God! (LCMS Northern Illinois District President, Dan Gilbert, and the District Life Coordinator, Dave Bottorff, also particpated in the service.) Pastor Wendt’s Life Team is busy sharing how impactful their participation was and already planning events for next year’s March for Life and how to encourage more Lutherans to participate! (Messiah Lutheran also took a door offering for LFL, for which we are thankful.)
Lori Trinche is the Mission & Ministry Coordinator for Lutherans For Life. email@example.com.