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:
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)!
April 3 – Lent V – The vineyard tenants parable issues a stern warning about using death as a solution like abortion or assisted suicide. Paul’s words – “for his sake I have suffered the loss of all things” (Philippians 3:8) – acknowledge the difficulties surprise pregnancy and terminal diagnosis bring. But Isaiah prophesies the sweet assurance of God’s salvation in these difficulties: “a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert” (Isaiah 43:19).
April 10 – Palm Sunday/Passion of Our Lord – Philippians 2 outlines how the humble love of our Lord Jesus involved Him in human nature and our life from embryo until His own flesh failed in crucifixion. Not only does this sanctify every member of our race whatever their circumstances, but it also rests the rights and responsibilities for deciding the manners of our lives and the timing of our deaths in His hands (Deuteronomy 32:39). Both now come as gifts for our good!
April 17 – Resurrection of Our Lord – Christ is risen, in the body! This makes every other human body precious from fertilization to forever (Isaiah 65:20). Death belongs to the old things and the former ways (Isaiah 65:17) from which our God and Father has set us free (1 Corinthians 15:26). The grave lies empty and has nothing to offer, not even by means of physician-assisted suicide or abortions. Neither we nor our neighbors need submit to it any longer!
April 24 – Easter II – The patient gentleness of Jesus with Thomas extends joy to him and not judgment. In like manner the Savior’s forgiveness embraces also hearts guilty and grieving because of aborting their own children or accelerating their parent’s death. “Peace be with you,” Jesus says to you who have participated in violence against life, “receive My absolution and My Holy Spirit.” Come, praise Him who has made you precious alongside men and maidens, infants and aged (Psalm 148:12)!
May 1 – Easter III – The Gospel of Jesus Christ reverses expectations. The Lamb once slain now reigns (Revelation 5). The persecutor gets converted (Acts 9). Empty nets bring abundance in (John 21). Dancing emerges from mourning (Psalm 30). Applied to life issues, this reveals what we call control – “my body, my choice” – as actually captivity, and God holds precious what we regard as paltry. Where we see only darkness and death, He has sown life and light!
May 8 – Easter IV/Mother’s Day – “Thy rod and thy staff, they comfort me” (Psalm 23:4). Boundaries do not restrict freedom but complete it by releasing from the dangers beyond. Moms—like God—discipline because they love. So let us heed His voice (John 10:27) and not shrink from declaring anything that is profitable, both in public and at home (Acts 20:20), including that abortion is sinful and every human life is precious.
May 15 – Easter V – Don’t abortion and physician-assisted suicide call common—or worse—what God the Lord has made precious (Acts 11:9)? And should the transitory sorrows of surprise pregnancy or terminal diagnosis blind us to the joy and hope He has invested in every human being (John 16:21)? May our witness to the sanctity of all human lives begin to wipe away the tears from all eyes (Revelation 21:4) with the Gospel of Christ’s salvation!
May 22 – Easter VI – Will euthanasia “let the peoples praise you, O God”? Does embryo experimentation “let all the peoples praise you” (Psalm 67:3)? If the heavenly city’s structures have the brilliance of gemstones (Revelation 21), what inestimable value resides in the human bodies whom the Lamb has written into His book of life by creating, redeeming, and calling them each? Our witness to the sanctity of life may bring tribulation, but His grace alone has overcome it already (John 16:33).
May 29 – Easter VII – How good and pleasant it is when brothers, mothers and their babies, children and their elderly parents live together (Psalm 133:1) without putting one another to death! In this sanctity of every life, God has not just invited but commanded and accomplished blessing by the coming of His Son! And if He has wrought good from the casting of lots (Acts 1:26), may we not trust Him to wring even better from surprise pregnancy or terminal diagnosis?
June 5 – Pentecost – The builders of Babel tried to grasp God’s power and prestige for themselves. Their selfishness delivered only division. Physician-assisted suicide, embryo-destroying biotechnologies, and abortion also attempt to exercise God’s authority over life and death. But keeping the Word of the Lord—including the encouragement to love even the least of our neighbors—brings people together (Acts 2:9-11) and receives Gospel peace (John 16:23, 27).
June 12 – Trinity – Father Abraham found the sanctity of life at the margins – his own old age and his wife’s conception. Jesus, who brings the Triune joy of divine Fatherhood and Sonship, embodies a Gospel even greater (John 8:56-58), that wisdom that delights in all the children of men (Proverbs 8:31)—no matter their ages, appearances, or abilities. No wonder His coming among us draws cheers and teachings out of the mouths of the littlest ones (Psalm 8:2)!
June 19 – Pentecost IIC (Proper 7)/Father’s Day – The unique dignity of fatherhood includes protecting others as God does (Psalm 3:3)—even defending them from themselves. Practices like abortion and measures like assisted suicide situate our people among the tombs (Isaiah 65:4). Let us not abandon them to demonic deceptions about “bodily autonomy” but instead with courage and compassion proclaim how much God has done for us (Luke 8:39), creating and redeeming and calling every member of our race precious.
June 26 – Pentecost IIIC (Proper 8) – “For freedom Christ has set us free” (Galatians 5:1), and this means freedom from death. We need not submit ourselves, our neighbors, or our culture again to it by permitting abortion or promoting physician-assisted suicide. Rather we who taste the fruit of the Spirit may perceive God’s power and receive His love even in those unborn babies or hospital patients who appear to have only a whisper of life (1 Kings 19).