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:
November 21 – Last Sunday after Pentecost (Proper 29B) – The sanctity of every human life involves far more than personal choices or political issues. We have the chance to snatch sisters and brothers from destruction (Jude 23) in the epic battle between good and evil. And the Lord’s Words do not require our anger to prevail (Psalm 93:4), so let us engage every neighbor with mercy to untangle their confusion (Jude 22). Receive them as gifts and treat them as privileges just like our Father treasures us.
November 28 – Advent I – A human being’s dignity doesn’t come from her age, her appearance, or her abilities. Rather, “the Lord is our righteousness” (Jeremiah 33:16), as He creates, redeems, and calls worth and purpose into every life from fertilization to forever. Even those who have undergone abortions may know His salvation because He remembers not the sins of our youth (Psalm 25:3) for Jesus’ sake. Trusting Him, nobody has to feel ashamed about surprise pregnancy or terminal diagnosis (Psalm 25:3).
December 5 – Advent II – God’s deeds give every member of our race a right to life (Psalm 66:5, 9). He creates us in our mother’s womb. He redeems us even as embryos. He calls us all into His everlasting family. Our life is a masterpiece He Himself commences and completes (Philippians 1:6). No sizes, skills, or circumstances on our part can impair or improve the value He has invested in us and our neighbors.
December 12 – Advent III – Our Savior embodies a God who does not just tolerate us in our physical weaknesses. He favors those who need Him the most (Luke 7:22), and that makes the Gospel the opposite of abortion and physician-assisted suicide. Is there any reality in which we may rejoice more than this (Philippians 4:4)? Why would we find this message offensive (Luke 7:23)? And why should we deny anyone else the delight by staying silent about it?
December 19 – Advent IV – The Scriptures clearly declare the liveliness our Lord brings even when unborn (Luke 1:41). Not only does He bestow this love explicitly upon every embryo, but He makes it a reason for rejoicing (Luke 1:44). Let the whole world think us fools (Psalm 80:6) – only let us still leap, delight, and speak loudly in celebration of the sanctity of life!
December 26 – St. Stephen, Martyr – Any message that only placates the culture cannot lay claim to the Gospel of Jesus Christ (Matthew 23:34). The power of His Word will have consequences for us and stir up passionate reactions in those who hear it (Acts 6:54, 57). But our insistence that they know of His grace and forgiveness (Acts 6:60)—especially applied to life issues—will capture attention to how He loves and saves every human being.
January 2 – Christmas II – King Solomon acknowledged depending upon God like a little child. The Lord recognized it as wisdom and multiplied it (1 Kings 3:7, 10). Only Jesus sanctifying childhood by experiencing it Himself represents greater wisdom (Luke 2:40, 52). He extends this grace to gestating as an embryo – and finds favor with God for it. How delightfully Christian to treasure all little ones!
January 9 – Epiphany I/Baptism of Our Lord – The voice of the Lord makes the deer give birth (Psalm 29:9). And does not His Word likewise will the conception of every child (Genesis 30:22)? He creates, redeems, and calls each one (Isaiah 43:1) even more precious than the other creatures. His incarnate Son displays His desire to claim every human life as His beloved son or daughter (Luke 3:22). That includes you, me, and all other neighbors!
January 16 – Epiphany II – God chose humankind in Christ Jesus. God chose you with the celebration of a wedding (John 2:11). God chose you with the love a husband has for his bride (Isaiah 62:4-5). God chose you and all offspring of Adam and Eve (Psalm 128:3). God chose you and every variety of human being, chose us into existence, chose us with forgiveness, chose us for making a difference (1 Corinthians 12:4-6).
January 23 – Epiphany III – Did Nehemiah’s people weep for gladness or grief at the Word of the Lord (8:9)? Were they ashamed or excited to hear how He values even the seemingly weakest among us (1 Corinthians 12:22)? Did they resist or insist on acclaiming and proclaiming His favor unto people of whatever abilities or impairments (Luke 4:18-19)? Will we let these gracious words of good news fall silent before the altars of abortion and assisted suicide?
January 30 – Epiphany IV – Physician-assisted suicide prizes autonomy. Abortion prioritizes “my body, my choice.” But Christlike love “endures all things” and “does not insist on its own way” (1 Corinthians 13:5, 7). Only this love, which speaks truth, shows hope, and shares joy, can unshackle hearts from the demonic deception of using death as a solution (Luke 4:35). The Gospel love of Him who knows all before any are born (Jeremiah 1:5) changes minds and saves lives.
February 6 – Epiphany V – Arguments for abortion or assisted suicide often appeal to emotion. Pity, pride, anxiety, anger, and embarrassment abound, but the logic is lacking. Discriminating against some human lives based on ages, appearance, or abilities just doesn’t make sense. Engaging our brain instead of going with our gut (1 Corinthians 14:15) finds that all qualify equally as the work of the Lord’s hands (Psalm 138:8). God set our lips loose to say so (Isaiah 6:7-8)!
February 13 – Epiphany VI – “Cursed is the one who makes flesh his strength” (Jeremiah 17:5) – don’t abortion and assisted suicide do exactly that? Humankind’s hope lies not in the skills or comforts of this life but in the Savior who imparts everlasting life to everybody (1 Corinthians 15:19, 22). Blessed indeed are those who heed not worldly counsels but hearken to the Lord’s words (Psalm 1:1) about human worth!
February 20 – Epiphany VII – The Lord Jesus Christ means to destroy all that threatens any human life (1 Corinthians 15:26). This absolutely includes those who participate in abortion. Almighty God finds their lives just as precious as the ones that were lost. His Fatherly love removes their transgressions just as far as ours (Psalm 103:12-13). What better way to bless them (Luke 6:27-31) than to speak of it courageously and compassionately?
February 27 – Transfiguration of Our Lord – In carefully creating every member of our race (Hebrews 3:4), God has given great grace and glory to the human body. The transfiguration of our Lord unveils and affirms it. Peter attempted to reserve it for himself (Luke 6:33), and abortion and assisted suicide share these unholy motivations. But Jesus showed the sanctity of life is for sharing with others – in fact, it’s the only hope worth boasting about (Hebrews 3:6)!
March 6 – Lent I – The fruits of the ground belong to the Lord (Deuteronomy 26:10); how much more the fruit of the womb! Children aren’t ours to do with as we wish. We must treat them even before birth as the Father Almighty wills. He holds every human life precious enough (Romans 10:12) to meet the needs of all our bodies (Psalm 91:5-6, 12). It’s an invitation for us to do the same.
March 13 – Lent II – The Savior who would “gather your children together” into His embrace (Luke 13:34) is the same Lord who “hears when I call to him” (Psalm 4:3). Can abortion really serve anyone better than this? Who needs to make a god of her own body (Philippians 3:19) when she may rest securely in the peace our Heavenly Father promises (Psalm 4:8)? Surely the Lord has sent us to speak these words (Jeremiah 26:15)!
March 20 – Lent III – No death, not even in physician-assisted suicide or embryo destruction, pleases the Lord God (Ezekiel 33:11). And these practices pose spiritual dangers as well as physical ones. So, He has commissioned each of us to warn our neighbors—and especially our brothers and sisters—against them (Ezekiel 33:7-8). We have not only the responsibility but the privilege of ushering them to a sacred escape (1 Corinthians 10:13)!
March 27 – Lent IV – Psalm 32 speaks to the relief, the healing, and the outright glee in having sins forgiven. When we neglect to address abortion, we deny that delight to consciences guilty and grieving over their part in it. And we deny ourselves the exhilaration of serving as ambassadors for Christ (2 Corinthians 5:20). Let our advocacy for the sanctity of life be invitation to celebrate for the prodigal – and his brother (Luke 15:32)!