Life Thoughts in the Church Year
Life Thoughts in the Church Year are designed to help pastors and congregations see the church year through the lens of the sanctity of human life. Life Thoughts are based on the appointed readings from Lutheran Service Book using the Three-Year Lectionary.
Life Thoughts in the Church Year – Three-Year Lectionary:
March 7 – Lent III – Abortion occupies an entire business industry. Assisted suicide is driven by financial considerations. And Jesus objects to nothing more strongly than making life and death a matter of commerce (John 2:15-16). He sacrificed Himself instead (John 2:19) so that “you shall not kill” (Exodus 20:13). Why? Because Almighty God chose the lowly for His own (1 Corinthians 1:28-30)—unborn, aged, impaired, even you and me.
March 14 – Lent IV – Location, origin, and residency can neither improve a person’s worth nor impair it. The Lord God’s worldwide redemption in Jesus (John 3:16) gathers from east and the west, north and the south (Psalm 107:2-3). How then can the confines of a woman’s womb or the bars of a hospital bed or the walls of a laboratory hold Him back when His great love has redeemed the human lives there as well?
March 21 – Lent V – Servanthood supersedes success, says Jesus (Mark 10:42-45). And do not surprise pregnancies and terminal diagnoses provide irreplaceable opportunities to serve neighbors, whether loved ones or strangers? Our Savior suggests that coming alongside them in courage and compassion may be better than sitting in prominent places hereafter!
March 28 – Palm Sunday/Passion of Our Lord – God works salvation in meekness (Zechariah 9:9). He brings glory only in weakness (Philippians 2:5-8). Abortion and assisted suicide attempt to avoid what the world perceives as weaknesses. But if we never enter another’s weakness or acknowledge and endure our own, we cannot know or come near to heaven. Better the peace of weakness with Jesus than any strength bought by such bloodshed (Zechariah 9:10).
April 4 – Resurrection of Our Lord – Sinful selfishness made human flesh an agent of death. Jesus Christ’s resurrection claims our bodies as instruments of life again. Since abortion and assisted suicide do not bring life, they cannot come from God—or from God’s people. Receiving life as His gift sometimes means waiting (Isaiah 25:9), but this wipes away tears from every face (Isaiah 25:8).
April 11 – Easter II – Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed (John 20:29) that even an embryo is a life worth having. Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed that even becoming incapacitated or uncommunicative is a life worth living. Blessed are we who believe the Risen Savior proves every life precious!
April 18 – Easter III – “Repentance and forgiveness should be proclaimed in His name to all” (Luke 24:47). We should proclaim repentance and forgiveness even unto those who promote or take part in sins against the sanctity of life. If God blots out our guilt for killing the Author of life (Acts 3:15, 19), will He not do so for those who have had a hand in abortions?
April 25 – St. Mark, Evangelist – Mark’s Gospel makes known how the Lord loves all lives and every body. His appearing as embryo and baby (2 Timothy 4:8) has shown us His strong arm (Isaiah 52:10) and His gentle heart. And this good news makes humankind beautiful from head to heel (Isaiah 52:7)—no matter how small or how frail we may be!
May 2 – Easter V – We behold ourselves in both our unborn and our elderly neighbors, for apart from Jesus even we can do nothing (John 15:5). And we behold our Lord Jesus in their bodies as well because He has come unto us in a flesh like their own (1 John 4:2). Let us use our breath to defend them from abortion or assisted suicide and in this way praise the Lord (Psalm 150:6).
May 9 – Easter VI/Mother’s Day – “My body, my choice,” says a sinful world. “You did not choose me, but I chose you” (John 15:16), answers a loving God. Motherhood comes about by His gift, not because of our will. Choice forces us to look out only for number one, but grace invites us to “love one another as I have loved you” (John 15:12). Praise the Lord for mother’s love!
May 16 – Easter VII – Jesus’ solution to human suffering is not to end life but to accompany it (John 17:15). Christians resist assisted suicide because we have the privilege of carrying a neighbor’s cross instead of letting it crush him or her. In this way our Lord makes us one as He and the Father are one (John 17:11). And we receive nothing less than the fullness of His joy (John 17:13)!
May 23 – Pentecost – The only ways embryos differ from adults are age, location, appearance, and ability. These qualities present no obstacle to the Lord and Giver of life. He easily and eagerly overcomes helplessness (Ezekiel 37:9-10) and distances (Acts 2:9-11) to bestow sanctity on the youngest and the oldest of us (Acts 2:17-18). Will it not delight us just as much to declare it?
May 30 – Holy Trinity – Almighty God makes Himself known to us as Father, Son, and Spirit (Isaiah 6:3, 8). He delights in nothing more than bringing forth children (Psalm 29:9; John 3:3-5). Childbearing means more than just political controversy or personal choice. It belongs to the Gospel’s essence to cherish all the little ones. Whom shall He send to celebrate it? Here we are—send us!
June 6 – Pentecost II (Proper 5B) – “Our outer self is wasting away … in this [earthly] tent we groan” (2 Corinthians 4:16-5:2). The Scriptures understand the difficulties of a terminal diagnosis. And it holds life precious all the way through the bitter end: “Our inner self is being renewed day by day … preparing for us an eternal weight of glory.” Physician-assisted suicide cannot even compare!
June 13 – Pentecost III (Proper 6B) – The teachings of Jesus frequently smile at the mention of seeds (Mark 4:26, 31). The Lord likes how tiny and inactive things leave Him ample room to work life. Since He holds inanimate objects in such high regard, what exhilaration must He have over embryonic human beings! Declaring God’s kingdom means defending the unborn.
June 20 – Pentecost IV (Proper 7B)/Father’s Day – Godly fathers protect and preserve and provide (Psalm 124:1-6; Job 38:4, 8-11). Godly fathers do not suggest their daughters abort surprise pregnancies. Godly fathers do not stand idly by and let the mothers of their children make life-ending choices. Godly fathers do not keep silent as a culture of selfishness threatens their loved ones. Godly fathers speak truth and show love and share life!
June 27 – Pentecost V (Proper 8B) – The Heavenly Father beholds life where the world cannot perceive it (Mark 5:39). Our Lord and Savior brings forth life where even medicine abandons it (Mark 5:41-42). And when we believe and celebrate it (Mark 5:36), He turns even the mourning of surprise pregnancy and terminal diagnosis into dancing (Psalm 30:11-12).