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.

Also available:

Life Thoughts in the Church Year – One-Year Lectionary (Word)

Life Thoughts in the Church Year – One-Year Lectionary (PDF)    

Audio: LifeMoments from Lutherans For Life and KFUO Radio

Life Thoughts in the Church Year – Three-Year Lectionary:

February 5 – Epiphany V – Do abortion and physician-assisted suicide rest our faith in God’s power or men’s wisdom (1 Corinthians 2:5)? Has not Christ crucified proved the beauty of being with one another even in weakness and trembling (1 Corinthians 2:3) rather than hiding from our own flesh (Isaiah 58:7)? And will not what God has prepared for those who love Him (1 Corinthians 2:9) ease fears about surprise pregnancy or terminal diagnosis (Psalm 112:7)?

February 12 – Epiphany VI – Jesus affirms that God forbids both murder and adultery (Matthew 5:21, 27). The Lord categorically says, “No!” to abortion because He emphatically says, “Yes!” to marriage, family, and community. His “Yes!” even extends forgiveness and salvation to those who have aborted their own children. We may advocate the sanctity of human life with the same courage and compassion (Matthew 5:37)—no matter who calls us a fool (Matthew 5:22).

February 19 – Transfiguration of Our Lord – The transfigured Jesus came down the mountain. He did not camp His glory in a comfortable status quo but put it to work accompanying His loved ones into adversity. So let us take hold of this Gospel and invite our neighbors to leave behind the seeming ease of abortion or assisted suicide. And let us find the blessed life Jesus reveals even in surprise pregnancy and terminal diagnosis.

February 26 – Lent I – The devil suggested Jesus attempt death as a solution (Matthew 4:6). Our Savior rejected the deception and rested Himself in the hands of the Heavenly Father. Death only delivers oppression because it serves sinfulness (Romans 5:14). But the victory Jesus gives over our ultimate enemies—Satan and the grave—frees us to leave life-and-death decisions to the Lord our God.

March 5 – Lent II – Father Abraham was justified (Romans 4:2-3); that is, he had a reason for coming into being and continuing to live. Abraham was not justified by works, that is; this reason arose from elsewhere than his own origin, appearance, or ability. Abraham was justified by grace; that is, God’s creating, redeeming, and calling defined his identity. The Gospel proclaims the sanctity of life to all Abraham’s offspring (Romans 4:16)!

March 12 – Lent III – Jesus delights to invite the Samaritan woman into His fellowship and forgiveness for her sordid past (John 4:13-18). So He has received each of us, notwithstanding our mistakes and failures. And so He insists we know the joy and hope of explicitly articulating the same grace to any who suffer the guilt and grief of aborting their own children. He holds their lives as precious as those already lost.

March 19 – Lent IV – Jesus clearly instructs us not to regard physical impairment as reason for condemnation to death (John 9:3). Yet our culture often uses disability as excuse for abortion and euthanasia. The Lord our God works wonders through our neighbors’ brokenesses just as He does through our own. So we may cheerfully, compassionately, courageously persuade our communities to turn away from doctor-assisted deaths.

March 26 – Lent V – Almighty God wondrously and abundantly brings forth life where we only behold despair and darkness (Ezekiel 37:3-6). How much more dear does He hold embryonic neighbors, impaired persons, and aging ones than piles of bones? And would we not witness—and deliver!—miracles in voicing it to them and for them, especially amid surprise pregnancy or terminal diagnosis?

April 2 – Palm Sunday – Every tongue must and shall confess Jesus and not ourselves as Lord over death and life (Philippians 2:11). When offered gall to accelerate His own dying, the Savior declined, even in His terminal condition (Matthew 27:34). We also may commend ourselves and our neighbors into the Heavenly Father’s loving hands as days draw to their ends.

April 9 – Resurrection of Our Lord – “Do not be afraid,” both the Easter angels and the risen Savior assure us (Matthew 28:4, 10). His everlasting and overcoming love (Jeremiah 31:3) means our whole being, body and soul, may rest secure (Psalm 16:9). We need fear neither surprise pregnancy nor terminal diagnosis, suffering nor death, because Christ Jesus mysteriously but mightily safeguards every human life (Colossians 3:3).

April 16 – Easter II – Personal choice, public opinion, and political controversy cannot stifle our Gospel-motivated voices For Life. With the first Christians, we must obey God rather than men (Acts 5:29). He has commanded every human life into its existence, and we work to preserve them all until He permits them to pass away (Psalm 148:5-6). If this means discomfort or suffering, we will rejoice at the privilege of suffering together with Jesus Christ (Acts 5:41).

April 23 – Easter III – The resurrected and compassionate Jesus made Himself present in His loved ones’ sadnesses (Luke 24:16-17). Our Lord is not absent but all the more active in difficulties like surprise pregnancy or terminal diagnosis. He redeems us and our sufferings to usher us into His exceeding glory (Luke 24:26). Not only do His words and ways deliver souls from death, but He also undertakes to relieve all tears from their eyes (Psalm 116:8).

April 30 – Easter IV – The earliest Church found great delight in not giving themselves over to radical autonomy. Instead they invested in fellowship and community that accompany each other rather than abandoning in time of need (Acts 2:44). May we likewise proclaim and put into practice our Lord’s promise that the abundant life is the one that is shared especially in adversity (John 10:10).

May 7 – Easter V – The God of the Scriptures displays a decided preference for precisely the kind of lives our world despises. He devotes particular attention to infants and elderly persons (Psalm 146:9), with no thought for who might find them “unwanted” or “burdensome.” He would even have us emulate their dependency upon Him (1 Peter 2:2). And He invites us to know this – and make it known – as real life (John 14:6).

May 14 – Easter VI/Mother’s Day – The reason for the hope that is in us rests upon the Lord’s creating, redeeming, and calling of every human being. The reason for the hope that is in us does not rely on anyone else’s age, appearance, or ability. Advocating for the sanctity of life gives the reason for the hope that is in us, and we declare and demonstrate it with a mother’s tenderness and tenacity (1 Peter 3:15).

May 21 – Easter VII – The demise of Judas (Acts 1:18) confirms death is always the devil’s work (1 Peter 5:8). We are not ashamed to resist its enticements, for the sake of both the Gospel and our neighbors. The work of God, on the other hand, always seeks to adopt even the ones the world discards and number every human life among His household (Psalm 68:5-6). Let us be about the Father’s business!

May 28 – Festival of Pentecost – Almighty God showers His Holy Spirit even upon those otherwise considered unworthy (Numbers 11:26-29). He remembers not the sins of our youth (Psalm 25:6-7), and we get to extend this forgiveness explicitly to those guilty of aborting their own children. If His salvation receives us into this refreshing cleansing, how could we withhold it from anyone else by our silence? Would that all the Lord’s people were prophets!

June 4 – Festival of the Holy Trinity – The care that Father, Son, and Spirit enact by creating humankind in His image makes every member of our race precious (Genesis 11:26-27). He reserves for Himself alone the right to decide how they live and when they die. Ultimate authority belongs to Jesus alone (Acts 2:36). We get the privilege and responsibility of teaching everyone that they also may believe it (Matthew 28:20)!

June 11 – Pentecost II (Proper 5A) – Abortion and assisted suicide attempt a salvation based on self-made assessments and efforts (Romans 4:13). Yet our God and Father would have even the most despised human life called into His kingdom (Matthew 9:9-11). Jesus on earth and in the flesh confirms this sanctity already and not just eventually. Let us bring the weak ones a healer instead of a hangman.

June 18 – Pentecost III (Proper 6A)/Father’s Day – Godly fatherhood involves protecting the vulnerable like a shepherd guards his sheep (Matthew 9:36). This makes abortion more than a personal matter or a women’s issue. Compassion for the weak (Romans 5:6) in both words and works is God’s concern, a Gospel affair, and a Christian issue. Since the Lord has spoken it, we need not hesitate to do it (Exodus 19:8).

June 25 – Pentecost IV (Proper 7A) – Our witness to the worth and purpose God assigns to every human life doesn’t have to be timid. Let the joy of life’s gift (Romans 6:23) have fire (Jeremiah 20:9) in our hands, and let its hope have volume (Matthew 10:27) from our mouths, to lift up the humble and turn back the proud. We enter the spiritual battle with courage, compassion, and Christ Jesus (Psalm 91:3-6)!