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:

February 25 – Lent II – Physician-assisted suicide and euthanasia view aging and affliction as burdens. But Abraham became a blessing in his elderliness (Genesis 17:1-2). And we encounter the glory of the Lord in carrying one another’s crosses (Mark 8:34, 38). So let us resist Satan’s temptations to take death into our own hands (Mark 8:33). We will rejoice in our suffering (Romans 5:3) and receive neighbors as gifts even in theirs (Psalm 22:24).

March 3 – Lent III – The Lord God closely associates life and family. He stands commands about parenting and marriage on either side of the prohibition against killing (Exodus 20:12-14). He holds human life as highest priority and will not accept any other creatures as replacement (John 2:15-16). Body and sexuality serve to enrich life – our own as well as one another’s – and not to eliminate it.

March 10 – Lent IV – Surprise pregnancy and terminal diagnosis come with risks and costs. But as with the ancient Israelite serpent infestation, the real enemy is neither one’s neighbor nor the Maker (Numbers 21:8). Only impaling the snake (not terminating each other) brought deliverance, and the antidote called for faith instead of death. Christians insist God has sent us His Son for extending lives and not ending them (John 3:17).

March 17 – Lent V – Jesus Christ embodies the God who abides beside us in our ailments and frailties. Our incarnate and crucified Savior suffers with and for those who cannot sustain or save themselves. He regards even human beings beset by weakness or sickness high enough to take on our condition Himself (Hebrews 5:7-9). The Gospel just leaves no room for abortion or assisted suicide.

March 24 – Palm Sunday/Passion of Our Lord – Sinful nature prizes popularity, property, and power. It despises dependence and discards aging or gestating neighbors because of it. But Jesus proves that God has designed humankind to rely on Him and each other. His salvation comes about by humbly and happily entrusting oneself to an Almighty Father (Philippians 2:6-8). We need not take life and death into our own hands when we can rest upon His.

March 31 – Resurrection of Our Lord – The Scriptures do not limit the sanctity of human life to a few isolated passages. Almighty God has made survival and salvation, abundant and everlasting, the point of the whole story. He intends His resurrection to encompass and affect every member of our race and every moment of our existence, from fertilization to forever. This is nothing less than the Gospel of the Lord (1 Corinthians 15:1-4)!

April 7 – Easter II – How remarkable that our Lord’s beloved Apostle St. John describes the Gospel of Jesus Christ as “the Word of Life” (1 John 1:2). He also declares all believers qualify as “little children” (2:1). And he proclaims that God has given His Son to redeem “the whole world” – every member of the human race, no matter what age, appearance, or ability. Even personal choice or political controversy can’t keep us quiet about it!

April 14 – Easter III – With St. Peter and the Pentecost Apostles, we confess Jesus Christ alone as “Author of life” (Acts 3:15). This means no one else has right or responsibility to decide what kind of life a neighbor may have or when any human life ought to end. Rather, we rejoice to repeat the message of repentance and forgiveness (Luke 24:47) for every sinner and every sin – abortion and assisted suicide included.

April 21 – Easter IV – The Gracious Savior brings a delightful clarity to life-and-death issues and situations. Killing and destroying belongs entirely to the work of the devil (John 10:11). The people of God advocate and extend abundant, everlasting life to the Lord’s every last little lamb. Unto all our neighbors, with both our voice and our goods (1 John 3:17), may we “come that they may have life and have it abundantly!”

April 28 – Easter V – It is anxiety and fright that drive folks to pursue abortion, physician-assisted suicide, and other measures that view death as a solution. Fear likewise bullies the sanctity of life into silence. But the Lord’s perfect love puts all fear to flight (1 John 4:18). In surprise pregnancy and terminal diagnosis, we and our neighbors need not independence and empowerment but the presence, promises, and compassion of the Father Almighty.

May 5 – Easter VI – Surprise pregnancy does involve difficulties too great for our abilities. Terminal diagnosis indeed comes with insurmountable obstacles. Taking life-and-death matters into one’s own hands only compounds the problems. Instead, trust the Son of God to overcome and deliver out of every threat (1 John 5:4). Cry out to Jesus in repentance and prayer, for the Father above will not fail to supply immediate and eternal salvation (John 15:16).

May 12 – Easter VII/Mother’s Day – The world ridicules motherhood as hindrance. It complains that children get in the way of education, career, income, gratification, and even climate. But the testimony of God is greater than the testimony of men (1 John 5:9). Real life and full life come in Christ Jesus, His Son, who shows us the joy of loving and keeping every daughter and son the Holy Father gives (John 17:11-12).

May 19 – Pentecost – The Holy Spirit means to make a dwelling place of every human body (1 Corinthians 6:19-20). The Scriptures explicitly apply this mission to old and young, male or female (Acts 2:17), and even the unborn (Psalm 139:13). We have the invitation and commission to proclaim this prophetic message to a culture that beholds some neighbors as lifeless bones (Ezekiel 37:2-3). Let His precious breath of life (Genesis 2:7) inspire us all!

May 26 – Holy Trinity – The truth of Father, Son, and Spirit proves that God loves relationship, family, and community. He gives these blessings no matter how young or old (John 3:4-5), even inhabiting the womb or entering the tomb. The One who creates, redeems, and calls every human being reigns as Lord over life and death (Acts 2:36). Abortion and assisted suicide are idolatrous, and Jesus has come to save from it (John 3:17).

June 2 – Pentecost II (Proper 4B) – Abortion and euthanasia aim to avoid disabilities by eliminating the persons who have them. The Christian community, on the other hand, regards persons with disabilities as reasons for rejoicing. Even the most fragile human bodies testify to the goodness of the God who created and sustains them (2 Corinthians 4:7-11). Let us declare and demonstrate how the life of Jesus manifests in every neighbor!

June 9 – Pentecost III (Proper 5B) – We believe Almighty God creates human beings in His own image, and so we also speak (2 Corinthians 4:13) against using death as a solution. We believe He redeems each one through His beloved Son, and so we also speak it despite political opposition or popular opinion. We believe He calls them all by His very Spirit, and so we also speak the sanctity of every human life!

June 16 – Pentecost IV (Proper 6B)/Father’s Day – Fathers embody how much difference the little things make. What seems just a personal choice at first quickly affects everyone around with its repercussions. The devil uses privacy and independence as deceptions. But salvation also only starts small (Mark 4:30-32). An embryo soon grows into the Savior of the universe, and one word spoken in courage and compassion changes untold hearts and saves countless lives.

June 23 – Pentecost V (Proper 7B) – “Widen your hearts,” the Apostle exhorts his Corinthian companions (2 Corinthians 6:13). He has just instructed them how God’s grace prevails to make life worthwhile without regard to anyone’s size, skills, or circumstances. Doesn’t His love expand our imaginations and affections to receive every human life as a gift and privilege? Won’t our voices offer the same opportunities to neighbors in surprise pregnancy and terminal diagnosis?

June 30 – Pentecost VI (Proper 8B) – “Silence.” “Dust.” “Strikes.” “Insults.” “Grief.” Lamentations knows right where it hurts. And this Word of the Lord gives us a God who comforts just how each needs: “steadfast love,” “mercies,” “faithfulness,” “salvation,” “compassion,” and “abundance.” Let us diagnose abortion by naming it sinfulness, so that we may directly dispense the healing that the hearts it has broken long for.