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:
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)!
October 2 – Pentecost XVII (Proper 22) – Abortion, assisted suicide, and other deals with death bless with their mouths – as Psalm 62 warns us – by promising freedom and control. But inwardly these measures curse by delivering guilt and grief. Power over life and death belongs to God alone (Psalm 62:11), and His steadfast love provides salvation even amid surprise pregnancy and terminal diagnosis. The Gospel of Jesus Christ always brings life and immortality to light (2 Timothy 1:10).
October 9 – Pentecost XVIII (Proper 23) – Naomi insisted Ruth abandon her because of her age and infirmity (Ruth 1:11-12). But Ruth instead trusted in the God who shares in suffering (2 Timothy 2:3). Likewise, the ten lepers were left for dead, but Jesus reaches even into our severest afflictions with presence and compassion. And He invites and encourages us also to accompany and assist rather than settling for physician-assisted suicide.
October 16 – Pentecost XIX (Proper 24) – Jacob wrestled blessing out of his competitor (Genesis 1:26). Timothy exhorted itching ears in season and out of season (2 Timothy 4:2-3). And the Savior’s persistent widow wouldn’t stop pleading to the authorities for justice (Luke 18:3). Our Lord will not let our advocating prevail any less when we speak the truth in love about the sanctity of every human life to leaders and neighbors.
October 23 – Pentecost XX (Proper 25)/St. James of Jerusalem, Brother of Jesus and Martyr – The earliest Christian congregation in Jerusalem recognized the lives of despised Gentiles as precious as their own (Acts 15:17-18). Along with James, they each understood the dignity Jesus bestowed by making human beings God’s own brothers and sisters, even though the public took offense at it (Matthew 13:55-57). Let us not let this Gospel they gave us with their lives fall silent!
October 30 – Pentecost XXI (Proper 26) – Many who have participated in the abortion of their own children believe they have committed an unforgivable sin. When we fail even to speak its name and extend God’s atoning grace to it directly, we become as guilty as them. What relief is theirs—and ours—in acknowledging our Lord’s forgiveness: No sin stains so deeply that Jesus cannot cleanse us (Isaiah 1:18).
November 6 – Pentecost XXII (Proper 27) – God intends and imparts life (Luke 20:38). He wills life for every human being. He wills life even where the world witnesses only darkness, despair, and dying (Luke 20:29-32). He works life no matter how young or how old a person may be (Psalm 148:12). He works life that neither we nor anyone and anything else may end. Why would we not want to uncover, approach, and announce such a holy ground (Exodus 3:5) to everybody?
November 13 – Pentecost XXIII (Proper 28) – Parents delivering children to death, as in abortion, indicates the end of the age is near (Luke 21:16). We rejoice that God has given limits to evil, and this will not linger forever. Our neighbors cannot afford for our tongues or talents to grow idle (2 Thessalonians 3:6). The Lord moves in surprise pregnancy and terminal diagnosis, turning hearts of parents and children to one another (Malachi 4:6). Let us also be about this the Father’s business!
November 20 – Last Sunday after Pentecost (Proper 29) – Using death as a solution offers us dominion to spare ourselves from pain. But real kings and queens exercise majesty by saving their people instead (Luke 23:37-39). God’s forgiveness and salvation have made us royalty so that we may do the same (Colossians 1:13). Lest our silence miscommunicate arrogance as blessedness, let us give voice to the sacred remembrance that He holds every human life as His own treasured possession (Malachi 3:15-17).
November 27 – Advent I – Beware the sword of abortion, euthanasia, and embryocidal technologies. Those who live by the sword will die by it sooner or later. The words and ways of the Lord our God, however, beat swords into plowshares and pruning hooks (Isaiah 2:4)—a far more beautiful existence. May our words and deeds invite our neighbors to cast off the works of darkness, like sexual immorality, and take hold of the salvation that has drawn near (Romans 13:11-12)!
December 4 – Advent II – Our sinfulness once left us lifeless as stones, but God has taken us for His own beloved children (Matthew 3:9) by becoming a little one among us Himself (Isaiah 11:6). Now we get to welcome others as Christ has welcomed us. We proclaim the sanctity of every human life to defend the cause of the poor, and we put it into practice to give deliverance to the children of the needy (Psalm 72:4).
December 11 – Advent III – Abortion and assisted suicide attempt to acquire one’s salvation by violence (Matthew 11:12). But God’s kingdom comes as He mercifully preserves at our weakest (Matthew 11:5-6). We need not seize happiness at the expense of others. Rather, we advocate endurance in sufferings such as surprise pregnancy and terminal diagnosis (James 5:11), and with our support for them we strengthen instead of extinguish (Isaiah 35:3).
December 18 – Advent IV – Surprise pregnancy once redeemed the whole world. Joseph would have aborted the undertaking, but the Lord explicitly forbid it (Matthew 1:19-21). Even human limitations could not prevent the Heavenly Father from keeping His promises (Romans 1:2-3). So, every surprise pregnancy we encounter—along with our lives and everyone else’s (Psalm 24:1)—belongs to Almighty God, and we may rejoice to say so.
December 25 – Nativity of Our Lord – The Lord bared His holy arm (Isaiah 52:10) not just by appearing in the form of a full-grown man. The Word became flesh (John 1:14) first as an embryo and a fetus. The clearest revelation of God’s glory (Hebrews 1:2-3) also designates every human life precious, no matter what age, appearance, or ability. We can no more keep quiet about the sanctity of life than we can leave out Christmas or Jesus from the Gospel!