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:

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).

July 3 – Pentecost IV (Proper 9) – Sometimes testifying to the sanctity of life means confronting uncomfortable truths. Jesus speaks with just such courage to three whole cities in this week’s Gospel lesson (Luke 10:13-15). And in our Epistle (Galatians 6:1), the Apostle Paul explains the ultimate purpose of warning against sin: to restore and redeem a treasured neighbor with faith and forgiveness even for abortion or assisted suicide.

July 10 – Pentecost V (Proper 10) – Leviticus 19:15 expresses our Lord’s compassion for every human life: “You shall not be partial to the poor or defer to the great.” He has delivered us each from domains of darkness with a grace that receives and preserves no matter what ages, appearances, or abilities. We get to extend the same joy and hope to anyone the culture labels “half-dead” (Luke 10:30)—from the embryo to the elderly!

July 17 – Pentecost VI (Proper 11) – Abortion means abandonment. Parents desert their little ones to death because they themselves feel forsaken. Today’s appointed Psalm describes how God wants all those whom others disregard: “Though father and mother have forsaken me, the Lord will take me in” (Psalm 27:10). In the Body of Christ, no one goes unwanted, even during surprise pregnancy. We share Father Abraham’s delight (Genesis 18:10) in abundance!

July 24 – Pentecost VII (Proper 12) – Even surprise pregnancies involve a father. More than 60% of women who undergo abortion report pressure to do so from a man in their life. Jesus extends instead the joy of God Himself in a fatherhood that finds beautiful and blessed fulfillment by protecting and providing for the child (Luke 11:11-13). The sanctity of life isn’t a women’s issue—it’s a Gospel gift!

July 31 – Pentecost VIII (Proper 13) – Why settle for “my body, my choice?” Death used as a solution like in abortion or assisted suicide offers pride, pleasure, property, and popularity, but all these only end up in vanity (Ecclesiastes 1:2). The real wealth that eyes don’t always see and money cannot ever buy comes from believing our bodies, hearts, and lives belong to the Father and Savior who made each one for His own (Psalm 100:3). Let God give life!

August 7 – Pentecost IX (Proper 14) – Surprise pregnancy and terminal diagnosis can inflict real anxiety about material necessities. But abortion and assisted suicide will only leave its victims lacking even more. Our Heavenly Father, on the other hand, gets giddy to furnish sufferers with not just what we need but all the assets, land, and families He has (Luke 12:31-32). Death, even when we wield it, leaves us empty, but faith never fails to fill hands and hearts.

August 14 – Pentecost X (Proper 15) – Abortion, assisted suicide, and embryocidal experimentation deal in false prophecies and fraudulent promises. They advertise peace and escape but only deliver grief and guilt (Jeremiah 23:16-17). The Gospel of God’s love and salvation for every human life cuts through (Luke 12:51) the tangles and tethers of the culture’s lies (Hebrews 12:1). Faith in Jesus as Lord brings real liberty in His grace and true luxury in His favor.

August 21 – Pentecost XI (Proper 16) – Abortion doesn’t mean choosing whether or not to have a family. Assisted suicide doesn’t amount to deciding whether or not to be a burden. Surprise pregnancy, terminal diagnosis, or otherwise, every human being will have burdens and belong to family. The only question is what kind. Affirming the sanctity of life binds us to a strong Father (Hebrews 12:6-7) and a household of celebration (Luke 13:29; Hebrews 12:22-24).

August 28 – Pentecost XII (Proper 17) – “It is the glory of God to conceal things” (Proverbs 25:2), like the sanctity of life hidden behind surprise pregnancy or terminal diagnosis. “The glory of kings is to search things out,” like the sanctity of life beheld in embryos and elderly ones. Our own souls embody little children (Psalm 131:2), and angels inhabit the needs of strangers (Hebrews 13:2). If rescuing pets brings relief (Luke 14:5), what rejoicing will be ours in defending our endangered neighbors?

September 4 – Pentecost XIII (Proper 18) – Conventional wisdom once equated slaves with property instead of people. The Gospel Paul proclaimed in Philemon, about God Incarnate as humankind’s slave and becoming our brother, eventually ended the injustice. And will we not delight to declare it and demonstrate the same sanctity of every human life until abortion and assisted suicide also become obsolete?

September 11 – Pentecost XIV (Proper 19) – Our culture discriminates based on size, skills, and circumstances in order to make abortion and assisted suicide possible. But our Lord and God has a soft spot, a definite preference for the feeble (Ezekiel 34:16), the insignificant (Luke 15:8-10), and the failures (1 Timothy 1:15). If it gladdens Him to save such as us, won’t it also enrapture us to advocate the sanctity of every life?

September 18 – Pentecost XV (Proper 20) – Financial concerns often serve as justifications for abortion and assisted suicide. The Word of the Lord elevates the value of a person far above that of any money or comfort (Luke 16:9; 1 Timothy 2:4). Does it even count as sacrifice if we must give up prosperity or property to gain and sustain a person in surprise pregnancy or terminal diagnosis? Aren’t we always getting the better end of the exchange? The Gospel guarantees it!

September 25 – Pentecost XVI (Proper 21) – Do we ignore the ruin around us (Amos 6:6) because abortion seems “too political” and assisted suicide feels “too personal”? Only woes await those who do (Amos 6:1, 4). But our Heavenly Father obsesses over the victims (Psalm 146:9), and heaven finds inexhaustible joy embracing the vulnerable (Luke 16:22). In speaking and showing the sanctity of all humankind, we also can “take hold of that which is truly life” (1 Timothy 6:19)!