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:
June 6 – Pentecost II (Proper 5B) – “Our outer self is wasting away … in this [earthly] tent we groan” (2 Corinthians 4:16-5:2). The Scriptures understand the difficulties of a terminal diagnosis. And it holds life precious all the way through the bitter end: “Our inner self is being renewed day by day … preparing for us an eternal weight of glory.” Physician-assisted suicide cannot even compare!
June 13 – Pentecost III (Proper 6B) – The teachings of Jesus frequently smile at the mention of seeds (Mark 4:26, 31). The Lord likes how tiny and inactive things leave Him ample room to work life. Since He holds inanimate objects in such high regard, what exhilaration must He have over embryonic human beings! Declaring God’s kingdom means defending the unborn.
June 20 – Pentecost IV (Proper 7B)/Father’s Day – Godly fathers protect and preserve and provide (Psalm 124:1-6; Job 38:4, 8-11). Godly fathers do not suggest their daughters abort surprise pregnancies. Godly fathers do not stand idly by and let the mothers of their children make life-ending choices. Godly fathers do not keep silent as a culture of selfishness threatens their loved ones. Godly fathers speak truth and show love and share life!
June 27 – Pentecost V (Proper 8B) – The Heavenly Father beholds life where the world cannot perceive it (Mark 5:39). Our Lord and Savior brings forth life where even medicine abandons it (Mark 5:41-42). And when we believe and celebrate it (Mark 5:36), He turns even the mourning of surprise pregnancy and terminal diagnosis into dancing (Psalm 30:11-12).
July 4 – Pentecost VI (Proper 9B) – Many in the world and some in the churches won’t listen to the sanctity of human life. It doesn’t mean we’ve failed. Both Ezekiel (Ezekiel 2:5) and Jesus (Mark 6:3) experienced rejection. So, we may borrow their boldness. The Lord perfects His power (2 Corinthians 12:9) even in surprise pregnancy or terminal diagnosis. His creating, redeeming, and calling grace prevails in our weakness as well. And all ages, appearances, and abilities will know He Himself has been among them.
July 11 – Pentecost VII (Proper 10B) – Was John’s Gospel proclamation about Herod’s marriage a political issue (Mark 6:18)? Or was it the Word of the Lord warning a neighbor against danger and pledging a better way? We may feel like neither prophets nor prophets’ sons (Amos 7:14-15), but we have heard the Word of truth and the Gospel of everyone’s salvation (Ephesians 1:13). However politicized or unpopular the sanctity of life becomes, we have been predestined to proclaim and celebrate it (Ephesians 1:11-12).
July 18 – Pentecost VIII (Proper 11B) – Abortion and assisted suicide may appear to be compassionate measures. But while they deaden the culture to some discomforts, they actually deny support to unborn and impaired persons. By contrast, Jesus has compassion on the whole multitude with no exceptions, because He perceives how the world has abandoned them (Mark 6:34). He feeds them instead of forsaking (Mark 6:41). And the Gospel extends abundant life from fertilization to forever.
July 25 – St. James the Elder, Apostle – Supporters of physician-assisted suicide might label the martyrdom of St. James as undignified. He did not choose the timing of his death. He had no control over the manner of his passing. But history and heaven celebrate both his life and his last breath. He met his demise with courage and purpose that allowed him to go gracefully with a Savior whose presence and promises to dignify and sanctify even lives death attempts to humiliate.
August 1 – Pentecost X (Proper 13B) – What if we can’t afford this baby? What if we can’t pay for these treatments? Abortion means fewer people in poverty, doesn’t it? Assisted suicide leads to less stress on limited resources, right? The Gospel dissolves every panic in sweet promises. He who sends mouths has never failed to supply their meat (Exodus 16:13; Psalm 145:15-16). Ensuring survival poses no trouble for Him who has already engineered salvation (John 6:25).
August 8 – Pentecost XI (Proper 14B) – Jesus gave His flesh for the life of the world (John 6:51). For the lives of unborn persons or incapacitated ones? For the life of the world. For neighbors with congenital deformities or chronic disabilities? For the life of the world. For those who can’t clothe themselves yet or who can’t bathe themselves anymore? For the life of the world. For those who have promoted assisted suicide or participated in abortion? For the life of the world!
August 15 – St. Mary, Mother of our Lord – We have no Savior to speak of except Him whom Mary’s womb conceived and delivered. We have no Gospel message but the one that begins in childbearing (Galatians 4:4-5). As helpless and dependent as any embryo, human beings – any of us – only enter immortality by baptismal birth to become beloved children belonging to the Heavenly Father. Pregnancy is never a sin. Every child is a gift!
August 22 – Pentecost XIII (Proper 16B) – Abortion frequently runs interference for “sexual freedom.” It often intends to provide cover for adultery. But it ends up a cheap imitation and poor substitute for the self-sacrificing, servanthood love of biblical, biological, binary, and lifelong marriage (Ephesians 5:31-32). Death cannot supply what sin has deprived us of. Our Lord Jesus gives us His whole body and life like husband to wife and parents to children. We will experience real joy when we emulate His way.
August 29 – Martyrdom of St. John the Baptist – The devil himself drove Herod to behead the Baptist. Satan sees Jesus in Christians and children. His vengeance attempts to slay anyone connected to the One who escaped the grave. Abortion’s become a spiritual battle, not just a political issue. Our only hope lies in leaning ourselves and every little one upon the Lord of Life (Psalm 71:6), from fertilization to forever as John did (Luke 1:41).
September 5 – Pentecost XV (Proper 18B) – God’s grace shows no partiality (James 2:1). All have sinned, and all have received the mercy of justification for Jesus’ sake. Christians cannot encourage abortion because it discriminates against neighbors based on size, skills, or circumstances. We cannot ignore physician-assisted suicide because it discriminates against neighbors based on age, appearance, or ability. Instead, we rejoice to receive every member of our race as sister and brother.
September 12 – Pentecost XVI (Proper 19B) – Even Christian lips can dishonor God and endanger neighbors (James 3:9). When we permit assisted suicide or promote abortion, we cause more destruction than forest fires (James 3:5). But words also serve the Lord’s gracious purposes. Gospel promises have delivered us. Even our sinful tongues can become instruments of His miracles. When we proclaim how God treasures every human life, He changes hearts and saves lives more than any laws or elections.
September 19 – Pentecost XVII (Proper 20B) – Life issues like surprise pregnancy and terminal diagnosis are not morally neutral situations (James 4:4). Intentionally ending life arises from sinful selfishness (James 4:2). But we don’t have to let our neighbors be led like lambs to slaughter. We can encourage and assist them in committing their cause instead to the Lord of hosts (Jeremiah 11:19-20). He has already given Jesus as guarantee that He will lift them up (James 4:10).
September 26 – Pentecost XVIII (Proper 21B) – Decisions about manner and timing of death —either our own or anyone else’s—are difficult and dangerous. We cannot anticipate all its effects and consequences. Our Lord relieves us from playing God by reserving for Himself the right to determine how human beings live and when we die (Psalm 104:29-30). And He assures us that we may flee the likes of abortion and assisted suicide by taking refuge in His kingdom of forgiveness and faith (Mark 9:43-47).