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 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).
October 3 – Pentecost XIX (Proper 22B) – This world idolizes sexuality so much it sacrifices unborn children in worship. Our Heavenly Father establishes boundaries to protect us from this slavery. He elevates us by connecting sexuality to marriage, intimacy, procreation, and family. Human bodies testify that we’re born already belonging to somebody. Where the world sees selves for expressing or enjoying, we celebrate them in sharing and serving!
October 10 – Pentecost XX (Proper 23B) – “I would never choose it for myself, but I’m not comfortable telling anyone else how to act.” Our neighbors need more from us than lukewarm. The Lord God invites the same courage and compassion His salvation has shown us. “Hate evil, and love good” (Amos 5:15). Real love proclaims both the Law and the Gospel directly (Mark 10:19-21). Jesus makes us nothing less than gentle but relentless!
October 17 – Pentecost XXI (Proper 24B) – Surprise pregnancy and terminal diagnosis can indeed make anyone feel vulnerable (Ecclesiastes 5:15). Our Incarnate Almighty knows (Hebrews 4:15), and so He arranges better solutions than intentional death. His promises have power even over problems of the body (Hebrews 4:12), and whatever losses we may suffer, He more than compensates (Mark 10:29-30). Jesus the Savior makes all things possible—even joy amid suffering (Ecclesiastes 5:18).
October 24 – Pentecost XXII (Proper 25B) – Disabilities do not deserve death, either at life’s beginning or near its end. The Lord our God loves to save us in all our brokennesses (Jeremiah 31:8-9). May we learn something even greater than comfort from our limitations—may we learn in our disabilities to cry out to Jesus and follow Him (Mark 10:48, 52), through affliction to life everlasting.
October 31 – Pentecost XXIII (Proper 26B) – The grace of God doesn’t prevail only in private. His life-giving words belong in bedrooms and on bodies (Deuteronomy 6:6-8), brought before congregations and into conversations for the sanctity of every human life. So, we do not keep these life-affirming convictions to ourselves because His blessings become even better when celebrating them with others (Deuteronomy 6:3).
November 7 – Pentecost XXIV (Proper 27B) – We need neither trust in princes nor fear public opinion (Psalm 146:3-4), as all these things operate and end under our Heavenly Father’s authority. When we cannot care for a child or keep ourselves alive (1 Kings 17:12), we don’t have to surrender to pressures, politics, verdicts, or laws. Instead, we entrust ourselves to Him whose abundance even our afflictions cannot exhaust (1 Kings 17:14-16)—and we invite our neighbors to do the same.
November 14 – Pentecost XXV (Proper 28B) – Little time remains for repentance now that fathers deliver children to death and children rise up against parents (Mark 13:12). We have the assurance that the Holy Spirit speaks salvation through our witness to the sanctity of life (Mark 13:11). Let us stir up one another to love (Hebrews 10:24) by declaring that Jesus saves from the sin of abortion (Hebrews 10:17-18).
November 21 – Last Sunday after Pentecost (Proper 29B) – The sanctity of every human life involves far more than personal choices or political issues. We have the chance to snatch sisters and brothers from destruction (Jude 23) in the epic battle between good and evil. And the Lord’s Words do not require our anger to prevail (Psalm 93:4), so let us engage every neighbor with mercy to untangle their confusion (Jude 22). Receive them as gifts and treat them as privileges just like our Father treasures us.
November 28 – Advent I – A human being’s dignity doesn’t come from her age, her appearance, or her abilities. Rather, “the Lord is our righteousness” (Jeremiah 33:16), as He creates, redeems, and calls worth and purpose into every life from fertilization to forever. Even those who have undergone abortions may know His salvation because He remembers not the sins of our youth (Psalm 25:3) for Jesus’ sake. Trusting Him, nobody has to feel ashamed about surprise pregnancy or terminal diagnosis (Psalm 25:3).
December 5 – Advent II – God’s deeds give every member of our race a right to life (Psalm 66:5, 9). He creates us in our mother’s womb. He redeems us even as embryos. He calls us all into His everlasting family. Our life is a masterpiece He Himself commences and completes (Philippians 1:6). No sizes, skills, or circumstances on our part can impair or improve the value He has invested in us and our neighbors.
December 12 – Advent III – Our Savior embodies a God who does not just tolerate us in our physical weaknesses. He favors those who need Him the most (Luke 7:22), and that makes the Gospel the opposite of abortion and physician-assisted suicide. Is there any reality in which we may rejoice more than this (Philippians 4:4)? Why would we find this message offensive (Luke 7:23)? And why should we deny anyone else the delight by staying silent about it?
December 19 – Advent IV – The Scriptures clearly declare the liveliness our Lord brings even when unborn (Luke 1:41). Not only does He bestow this love explicitly upon every embryo, but He makes it a reason for rejoicing (Luke 1:44). Let the whole world think us fools (Psalm 80:6) – only let us still leap, delight, and speak loudly in celebration of the sanctity of life!
December 26 – St. Stephen, Martyr – Any message that only placates the culture cannot lay claim to the Gospel of Jesus Christ (Matthew 23:34). The power of His Word will have consequences for us and stir up passionate reactions in those who hear it (Acts 6:54, 57). But our insistence that they know of His grace and forgiveness (Acts 6:60)—especially applied to life issues—will capture attention to how He loves and saves every human being.