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.
September 6 – Pentecost XIV (Proper 18A) – This world needs watchmen (Ezekiel 33:7). Our brothers and sisters need keepers (Matthew 18:15). Almighty God has set us here for such a time as this. He doesn’t promise we’ll find speaking truth in love easy. But He does assure us it changes hearts and saves lives. We don’t warn against abortion and assisted suicide to show our own superiority. We tell of these sins to show every human life their dear Savior and to share with them in His kingdom forever.
September 13 – Pentecost XV (Proper 19A) – Today the good Lord has a good Word for those of us who have participated in abortion. He forgives that. He forgives you. “[A]s far as the east is from the west, so far does he remove our transgressions from us” (Psalm 103:12). What’s more, He redeems every sinner. He redeems all our failures. “[Y]ou meant evil … but God meant it for good” (Genesis 50:20). Who could you counsel or comfort with what you’ve learned from this mistake (Romans 14:7)?
September 20 – Pentecost XVI (Proper 20A) – The Apostle St. Paul must have felt like a burden and better off dead (Philippians 1:21). Persecution caused him almost constant pain. Imprisoned in Rome, perhaps awaiting execution, he only ate, bathed, and was clothed at someone else’s pleasure. Yet though he couldn’t work, God made him a witness who blessed untold multitudes throughout history (Philippians 1:24). And what great worth and purpose likewise shines in our lives even when confined to hospital beds or completely incapacitated!
September 27 – Pentecost XVII (Proper 21A) – The Lord God Almighty never views death as a solution or even a necessary evil. “For I have no pleasure in the death of anyone, declares the Lord God” (Ezekiel 18:32). This certainly includes—and plainly prohibits—abortions and physician-assisted suicides. What alternative do we have in the face of surprise pregnancies and terminal diagnoses? “Count others more significant than yourselves” (Philippians 2:3b)—the way God Himself regards you.
October 4 – Pentecost XVIII (Proper 22A) – Jesus’ parable about vineyard tenants (Matthew 21:38-41) warns against abortion and assisted suicide. These acts always kill a son or daughter, without ever delivering the liberty they advertise. They ink us into contracts payable only with guilt and grief. But entrusting ourselves to Christ, who creates bodies and sustains souls even amid costs and losses (Philippians 3:7-8) like surprise pregnancy or terminal diagnosis, this gives life not only to “me” but to “us” (Psalm 80:18).
October 11 – Pentecost XIX (Proper 23A) – Jesus Christ has already swallowed up death forever. It belongs to Him and Him alone. He reserves the right to provide life to us on His terms and decide in His time when we die. His death and resurrection have freed us from needing to seek it for ourselves or for anybody else. His peace and presence, promises and power pass us not only into death’s shadow but through it—without ever setting up residence.
October 18 – St. Luke, Evangelist – Abortion and assisted suicide insist on a salvation by works. They believe only pretty, popular, powerful, productive persons deserve to survive. Almighty God doesn’t delight in this kind of physical strength (Psalm 147:11). His grace and love give every life value, and so St. Luke’s Gospel proclaims the Lord’s joy and ours over blind, deaf, lame, mute (Isaiah 35:5-6), unborn (Luke 1:44), elderly (Luke 2:36-38), and even me and you!
October 25 – Pentecost XXI (Proper 25A) – Scripture highly praises motherhood (1 Thessalonians 2:7-8) and fatherhood (1 Thessalonians 2:11-12). The Holy Spirit inspires the Apostle Paul to use them as words for the love of one Christian for another. We protect each other like fathers and take care of each other like mothers. If this clearly excludes the killing of even a neighbor (Leviticus 19:16), how much more shall we cherish the lives of children, however young, and parents, however old!
November 1 – Pentecost XXII (Proper 26A) – Abortion often offers cover for sexual immorality, like pre-marital intercourse, infidelity, and abuse. Forgiveness and everlasting life in Jesus Christ release us from enslavement to such lusts (1 Thessalonians 4:3-7). We get to engage our bodies in lives of holy worship to God and righteous service to one another. And since we share one Father (Matthew 23:9), we pursue purity not only for our own bodies but for each other’s, as brothers’ and sisters’ keepers.
November 8 – Pentecost XXIII (Proper 27A) – Surprise pregnancies bring real burdens. Terminal diagnoses come with genuine hurts. But we need not grieve them like those who have no hope (2 Thessalonians 4:13b). Whenever anyone’s oil runs out, there Jesus our Lord arrives and intervenes (Matthew 25:6). Until then we encourage each other with compassion and courageously carry crosses together rather than seeking cheap escapes.
November 15 – Pentecost XXIV (Proper 28A) – Isn’t abortion at least a little like wrapping precious treasure in a napkin and throwing it in a hole? Isn’t assisted suicide literally burying unappreciated talents in the ground (Matthew 25:18)? Jesus warns it’s a one-way ticket to weeping and gnashing of teeth (Matthew 25:28-30). But what joy awaits us when we receive both our lives and everyone else’s as a gift and expect that each will improve the other (Matthew 25:20-21)!
November 22 – Last Sunday after Pentecost (Proper 29A) – “As you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me” (Matthew 25:40). Jesus has consecrated your life in His incarnation and crucifixion. And in the same way He has sanctified every human life, no matter what age, appearance, or ability. When we behold our unborn neighbors, when we care for incapacitated ones, when we advocate for embryos or elderly, we encounter God.
November 29 – Advent I – Restore us, O God (Psalm 80:7)! Restore us by Your humble coming among us. Restore our courage to speak for those vulnerable to using death as a solution. Restore our compassion to serve their survival and salvation as You have ours. Restore our congregations to welcome, receive, and embrace every human life. Restore our communities to accompany instead of abandoning. And restore our country to protect and provide for unborn and elderly.
December 6 – Advent II – No greater comfort speaks to hearts broken by abortion than the Gospel of God’s forgiveness (Isaiah 40:1-2). He holds the lives of those who permit, promote, or participate in abortion just as precious as the little lives lost to it (1 Peter 3:9). And whatever relief abortion proposes for surprise pregnancy cannot compare with the Savior who will “gently lead those that are with young” (Isaiah 40:11).
December 13 – Advent III – Few situations force us to acknowledge One greater than ourselves (John 1:27) like surprise pregnancies and terminal diagnoses do. But when we see how He comes as gentle gestating baby and humble suffering servant, and not only binds up the brokenhearted (Isaiah 61:1) but keeps body and soul (1 Thessalonians 5:23-24), even these burdens give way to greater blessings.
December 20 – Advent IV – Anyone who experiences surprise pregnancy understands Mary’s “greatly troubled” (Luke 1:29). But since every conception comes about only by God’s good and gracious will, we can rest assured that especially in such circumstances, “The Lord is with you” (Luke 1:28) and “You have found favor with God” (Luke 1:30). Who needs “my body, my choice” when we can declare, “Let it be to my according to Your Word” (Luke 1:38)?
December 27 – St. John, Apostle and Evangelist – St. John testifies of a Savior whose atoning sacrifice saves from all our sins and shortcomings (1 John 2:2). His shed blood (Revelation 1:5) has rendered that of abortion and physician assisted suicide as unnecessary as it is ineffective and immoral. These measures have no power to deliver, and even their power to condemn fails—if we confess our sins, even sins against the sanctity of life, Jesus faithfully forgives and cleanses (1 John 1:9).