Download LifeDate Summer 2021
Across the country many of our states have completed the first phase of our national essay contest sponsored by our Council of Federation Presidents. The winners in phase one are now moving on to the national contest for the final phase of this event. The students who participate are in grades 6-8 and 9-12. I continue to be amazed at their maturity when it comes to understanding God’s love for life.
This year has been an exceptional one for my state, as in many others, as more students from our Lutheran schools, churches, and homes have entered our contest, and it has been a touching sight. For whatever reason, 2021 has proven to be a banner year, and there is more to this story than just the numbers. Each year we ask our students to write on a life issue they choose using a theme and Bible verse we select. Generally, the theme is a foretaste of our upcoming LFL conferences and next year’s Life Sunday theme. This year our theme is “God Chose You.” The Bible verse is John 15:16: “You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you.”
Each year the essays and heartfelt stories support the theme. Are all the essays written with perfect sentence structure, good grammar, correct spelling, and appropriate facts with a supporting bibliography? No, they are not, and unfortunately, they do lose points in these areas during the evaluation process. However, that does not discount what they have written. What a joy to read and observe their thoughts. Everyone is a winner in God’s eyes as they stand up in support of life at all stages and circumstances.
Here are a few thoughts from various students across the country. These are just a sentence or two, but you can imagine the entire story they shared with these short clips:
- “I believe God has called me to join the effort to end abortion.”
- “I have lived with my mom and dad since I was five days old … That’s God himself telling my birth mom to let me live and have a wonderful life.”
- “We all have a purpose in this world, and God created people with disabilities for a purpose, not a mistake.”
- “As chosen children of God, our value comes from the cross of Christ.”
- “God’s love encourages us to choose life. Life’s not always easy, but there’s always beauty in the ugliness.”
- “A person’s disease does not lessen his value or purpose since Jesus already conquered their illness.”
- “It wasn’t an accident; it was part of God’s master plan.”
- “Not dying in an attempted suicide is a way that you could say that God chose to keep you.”
These students take their essays very seriously. This year I heard from Mrs. Becky Lewis, a teacher at St. Martin’s Lutheran School and Hope Lutheran High School in Winona, Minnesota. Here is what she shared with her first essay submissions:
“The 7th and 8th grade classroom at St. Martin’s Lutheran School is proud to enter into the Lutherans for Life 2021 essay contest. I have never seen them so engaged and interested in their writing topic. This essay contest opened their eyes to the outside world and the critical, Biblical need to preserve life.”
Not much more can be added as she just described the goal of the essay contest the Council of Federation Presidents hopes to achieve each year. These youth are the future of our churches, families, and all of society. They will be the parents of tomorrow, the teachers and pastors who educate and minister, the leaders in our communities, and the citizens of our precious country and the world. We can be assured there is hope for the future in the youth in our schools, churches, and families.
If you are a teacher in a Lutheran school or you home school your child or are a pastor with students in confirmation or a youth group, please consider having your students participate in our essay contest next year. The program generally runs after the first of the year with April 1 being the date they need to be submitted to the states. If you live in a state where we have a federation or regional director managing the contest, you will find those contacts on our LFL website on the Frontlines tab under State Federations.
Watch for the 2022 contest rules for your state late summer or early fall as they become available. If you do not live in one of those states, we also run a program for non-federation states with Rev. Jeff Duncan, who is listed under Regional Directors. Please help your students stay grounded in God’s Word and support the sanctity of human life, as they are the future voices For Life. To God be the glory!