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:
July 30 – Pentecost IX (Proper 12A) – Our Lord loves to take the tiniest as His treasured possession (Deuteronomy 7:7-8). Their insufficiencies only accentuate how great is His compassion (Psalm 125:2). “Little ones to Him belong, they are weak but He is strong.” Does this include gestating embryos and unborn babies? Does it include bodies limited by age or ailment? Yes, Jesus loves them just as much as He loves me.
August 6 – Pentecost X (Proper 13A) – Why should anxiety over expenses darken a terminal diagnosis? Why should panic about poverty affect a surprise pregnancy? He who sends mouths also sends meat, even conjuring necessities out of thin air (Matthew 14:19). Our gracious Savior bestows in abundance, and the Body of Christ knows how to share. If God spends His riches on relationships, how can we do any better?
August 13 – Pentecost XI (Proper 14A) – Contrary to the logic of abortion and assisted suicide, human worth doesn’t come from age, appearance, or ability. God’s grace in creating, redeeming, and calling makes every life precious. No one else’s labor or lack thereof can improve or impair it. We declare and demonstrate a righteousness based on this faith and not based instead on works of the law (Romans 10:5-6).
August 20 – Pentecost XII (Proper 15A) – He who made and still sustains nature and all creatures has no anxieties about overpopulation. The Lord our God delights in adding another human life (Isaiah 56:8) and wrapping the next neighbor in magnificent mercy (Romans 15:32). Let the peoples praise You, O God, in ever increasing number (Psalm 67:5-6) – the unborn one, the impaired one, and even our Gospel-motivated voices For Life!
August 27 – Pentecost XIII (Proper 16A) – Confessing the Christ means advocating the sanctity of every human life. If Jesus is indeed the Son of the Living God (Matthew 16:16), then He also serves as Lord of life-and-death situations and decisions. May He whose Word has plundered us out of hell’s gates grant our testimony to extend this same courage and compassion to everyone considering abortion or physician-assisted suicide.
September 3 – Pentecost XIV (Proper 17A) – Our bodies and lives are on loan from Almighty God. He creates us in His image, redeems us with His Son, and calls us by His name (Jeremiah 15:16) from fertilization to forever. So He does not abandon us in our frailties and mistakes. Shall we not extend this Gospel also to neighbors facing surprise pregnancy and terminal diagnosis?
September 10 – Pentecost XV (Proper 18A) – Abortion doesn’t just end unborn lives. It also breaks hearts with grief and guilt. So the Lord doesn’t exempt it from condemnation. He commands us to warn our brothers and sisters about its sinfulness (Ezekiel 33:7-8). Nor does He exclude abortion from His forgiveness. He would have us apply His absolution as explicitly to this iniquity as to our own (Psalm 32:5).
September 17 – Pentecost XVI (Proper 19A) – Surprise pregnancy often comes with complications and difficulties. Terminal diagnosis can involve suffering and sorrow. But our God brought Jesus back from the dead. He makes it His way to wring blessings out of burdens (Genesis 50:19-20). Are we in the place of God, to let abortion or assisted suicide judge (Romans 14:4) someone else’s life as hopeless?
September 24 – Pentecost XVII (Proper 20A) – Abortion and euthanasia begrudge God’s generosity (Matthew 20:15) by regarding one life as less than another. Thank the Lord that His ways are not our ways (Isaiah 55:8), for none of us deserves to survive! Yet He preserves and protects us still, just as much as our every neighbor. O Lord, make us bold to speak Your Word of Life without fear (Philippians 1:14)!
October 1 – Pentecost XVIII (Proper 21A) – Remaining silent about the sanctity of life enslaves us to selfishness just like abortion does. But God’s grace and forgiveness in Christ Jesus free us from looking out only for ourselves. We get to speak His truth and show His love to every one of our neighbors—not out of “selfish ambition or conceit,” but in service to “the interests of others” (Philippians 2:3-4).
October 8 – Pentecost XIX (Proper 22A) – The psalmist openly rejoices that Almighty God cherishes every human life He creates. “Let your hand be on … the son of man whom you have made strong for yourself” (Psalm 80:17). The same Lord invites us to delight in receiving one another as gifts and privileges—no matter what size, skills, or circumstances. Why settle for bloodshed when we can have justice (Isaiah 5:7)?
October 15 – Pentecost XX (Proper 23A) – Abortion and physician-assisted suicide represent a surrender to death brought about by fear. We need not be afraid of enduring terminal illness, because our Heavenly Father protects us even in the darkest places (Psalm 23:4). And we need not be afraid of carrying surprise pregnancy, because our dear Savior Jesus provides all we need even in the most difficult times (Philippians 4:12-13).
October 22 – Pentecost XXI (Proper 24A) – Taxes and politics may belong to Caesar, but every human life belongs to God from fertilization to forever. He made our bodies—and those of our neighbors—in His own image (Matthew 22:19-21). And since He retains responsibility for deciding the manner of our life and the timing of our death, abortion and euthanasia are choices no one needs to make.
October 29 – Pentecost XXII (Proper 25A)/Reformation Day – Our Reformation heritage includes boldly and gladly confessing God’s Word. The Scriptures speak frequently and forcefully of taking care of children (1 Thessalonians 2:7) and standing up for a neighbor’s life (Leviticus 19:16). Christians cannot promote or even permit putting people to death by abortion, assisted suicide, and embryo experimentation. Love for our Father means love for each other!
November 5 – Pentecost XXIII (Proper 26A) – The Lord our God has given us sexuality for relationship, family, and community. These matters cannot become merely private choices or personal preferences. What we do with our bodies also affects our neighbors (1 Thessalonians 4:3-6). Abortion reveals that lust always leads to destruction. Marriage and parenting prove we do not need abortion – indeed, these gifts leave us no room for it!
November 12 – Pentecost XXIV (Proper 27A) – Like the parable’s bridegroom, Jesus often meets us in unexpected moments (Matthew 25:10). He even sometimes hides in surprise pregnancies or terminal diagnoses in order to rescue and bless. So, we dare not ignore the poor and needy neighbors who cry out for deliverance (Psalm 70:1, 5) from abortion and assisted suicide. If we do indeed love the Lord’s salvation, then let us say so (Psalm 70:4)!
November 19 – Pentecost XXV (Proper 28A) – Many around us despair because the world pressures them into the violence and fraud (Zephaniah 1:9) of viewing death as a solution to difficulty. In the sanctity of every human life, we have riches to spare (Matthew 25:15). Gospel hope and joy are not just for us to possess. Jesus brings us faith and life to proclaim and put into practice.
November 26 – Pentecost XXIV (Proper 29A) – Guilt and grief can devastate those who abort their own children (Matthew 25:37-38). The Lord God longs to relieve their wounds with His forgiveness (Ezekiel 34:16). If Jesus overcomes death for us, He can also subdue it for them (1 Corinthians 15:25-26). May our mouths make the joyful noise (Psalm 95:2) of explicitly applying His atoning grace to every sin!
December 3 – Advent I – Surprise pregnancy intimidates, and terminal diagnosis terrifies because they darken the future. But Jesus the Savior looks through walls and sees around corners (Mark 11:2-3). He has promised abundant and everlasting life as the one who both secures the ends and supplies the means. God is faithful and will sustain (1 Corinthians 1:9); can we confirm it with our testimony (1 Corinthians 1:6)?
December 10 – Advent II – John the Baptist prophesied the Gospel of the Kingdom that with Jesus’ blessing is always coming (Mark 1:7-8). Even during surprise pregnancy or terminal diagnosis, He is not slow to keep His promises. Instead, He acts patiently, not wishing that any should perish (2 Peter 3:9). Aren’t we crying out about it as this generation’s voice in the wilderness (Mark 1:3)?
December 17 – Advent III – Those who believe cannot help but speak. God’s love for every human life has filled our mouths with shouts of joy (Psalm 126:2). We have His permission to give voice to this Gospel in all circumstances and without ceasing (1 Thessalonians 5:17-18). Our time has come to bear witness to the Light (John 1:6-7). Confess and do not deny (John 1:20) the sanctity of life!
December 24 – Advent IV/Christmas Eve – Almighty God has profound interest and investment in childbearing and childrearing (2 Samuel 7:12; Luke 1:31). He has made this relationship and vocation central to the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Every mother and father, every son or daughter embodies the love of the Lord for humankind. While abortion attempts to conceal the realities, our sanctity-of-life advocacy gets to reveal this delightful mystery (Romans 16:25).
December 31 – Christmas I/New Year’s Eve – Christmas – and a new year – offers opportunity for the joys of looking forward. Simeon and Anna exemplify and inspire faith that finds strength and celebration in anticipating. The Heavenly Father who escorted us thus far will also usher us ever onward. Neighbors facing surprise pregnancies or suffering terminal diagnoses need to know. For their sake, please do not keep silent (Psalm 62:1)!