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.

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June 2 – Easter VII – Abortion advocates sometimes claim the Scriptures are silent about the practice. However, the Greek term for the “sorcerers” condemned in Revelation 22:15 also refers to those who prepared abortifacients. On the other hand, every story entrusted to the Lord of Life ends beautifully (Revelation 22:1-5)—even if it involves a surprise pregnancy or a terminal diagnosis.

June 9 – Pentecost – The world promises that abortions, embryo experiments, and physician-assisted suicides will achieve peace. But wherever death establishes an empire, it excuses nobody and enslaves all to grief. The life-giving Spirit that Jesus bestows in His Gospel instead produces the real peace of being unconditionally loved by and infinitely precious to the Ruler of the Universe (John 16:27). And this peace is for all persons and all circumstances (Acts 2:17-21).

June 16 – Holy Trinity/Father’s Day – The best fathers guide their children to find their voice instead of stifling it. Even the youngest among us—unborn ones, too!—have a sacred privilege and vocation to take part in testifying of the goodness of our Maker and Savior (Psalm 8:2). Their Gospel-motivated voices may speak without grown-up words, but they strengthen us as evidence of how precious we are to our Heavenly Father even though we are helpless.

June 23 – Pentecost II (Proper 7C) – God became an embryo to declare embryos precious. He experienced gestation to hallow the womb as His canvas. He received parents to especially bless procreation and childrearing. He suffered to sanctify all of our afflictions, including the untreatable ones. Jesus came to claim even the tiniest of our species and make His family out of the neediest human beings (Galatians 4:4-7). We get to call God “Father” and become brothers and sisters to any human being!

June 30 – Pentecost III (Proper 8C) – Elijah prayed for assisted suicide (1 Kings 19:4). Instead God heard the burdens of his heart. He didn’t abandon Elijah to death but instead assured Him of His presence in suffering and His power perfected in weakness. Elijah’s Almighty Father surrounded him with a caring community to be dependent upon (1 Kings 19:15-18). Isn’t this the freedom (Galatians 5:1, 13, 22-24) He offers all humankind—especially Christians? 

July 7 – Pentecost IV (Proper 9C) – Our enemy has no answer for compassion. The Lord Jesus Christ has lifted and carried all our burdens. His saving love overcomes every power of sin and death. In life issues, we get to bear the crosses of brothers and sisters, neighbors and strangers (Galatians 6:2). And in the process we have the chance to show the sanctity we speak and share the blessings of life.

July 14 – Pentecost V (Proper 10C) – The Good Samaritan’s mercy didn’t lead him to end a life, even though the Jericho-going fellow lay before him half dead already (Luke 10:30). God Himself doesn’t snap His fingers to erase human ailments. Getting involved the way Jesus does and accompanying others in their hurts proves more costly and complicated than putting them out of our misery. But why settle for just arranging a funeral when we can gain a friend instead?

July 21 – Pentecost VI (Proper 11C) – Carrying a surprise pregnancy to term brings troubles. Safeguarding marital sexuality can detract from attractiveness. Enduring chronic pain sometimes interferes with social acceptance. Speaking truth in love may interrupt a lucrative career. Still, the Gospel life with Christ gives far more than it deprives. Peace in forgiveness, comfort from faith, joy in fellowship, hope of heaven – His words and ways never deny us these needs (Luke 10:42).

July 28 – Pentecost VII (Proper 12C) – The “my body, my choice” philosophy doesn’t deliver freedom. It actually enslaves you to self and sin, isolation and anxiety, and ultimately it demands death (Colossians 2:8). The crucified Christ Jesus brings God into our deadness to rescue from oppressive autonomy. Whoever hides behind His promise and waits upon His working is rising into an everlasting life.

August 4 – Pentecost VIII (Proper 13C) – Some folks are so poor that they only have money. This seems the case with Jesus’s rich fool (Luke 12:20). But who needs bigger barns when you’ve got neighbors? Sure, giving birth and raising children costs a lot. Caring for incapacitated persons also has a high price. Yet what better place to invest our energies and abundances than in priceless human lives like God does? We already own what rich folks are still saving for--community!

August 11 – Pentecost IX (Proper 14C) – “We don’t have money to support this embryonic life. We don’t have stamina enough to maintain this elderly life. We need abortion and assisted suicide.” But He who sends mouths also sends meat (Luke 12:24, 28). Even with limitless resources, we couldn’t preserve a single sparrow. Only God can sustain or cease life. If He invites us into the privilege of providing for somebody, He Himself will ensure neither they nor we go without.

August 18 – Pentecost X (Proper 15C) – God’s Word about human worth from fertilization to final breath sometimes divides (Luke 12:51). Looking after the least of these may set us against popular opinion, our own sense of reason, and even loved ones. But only the surgical sword of Gospel grace sets us free from calculating value by works. The Almighty’s redeeming compassion slashes a path and builds a bridge to abundant, everlasting life—for us and every human being.

August 25 – Pentecost XI (Proper 16C) – A complicated pregnancy certainly qualifies as the day of trouble (Psalm 50:15). So does an incurable illness or chronic pain. Abortion and assisted suicide summon death to solve the difficulties. But He who possesses cattle on a thousand hills (Psalm 50:10) gives Jesus for redemption. He urges us not to settle for incomplete remedies, however immediate. Appeal instead all the way to the top: “Call upon me and I will deliver you.”

September 1 – Pentecost XII (Proper 17C) – Supporters of abortion suggest babies with disabilities are better off not being born. Advocates of assisted suicide also presume certain injuries and illnesses make life too burdensome. But Jesus calls us all fallen and helpless—and then rewrites His commandments to save us as sons and daughters (Luke 14:2-5). He receives “the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind” (Luke 14:13) as honored guests, and invites us also to celebrate the blessing of each one.

September 8 – Pentecost XIII (Proper 18C) – Philemon viewed Onesimus as a slave (Philemon 16). The Apostle Paul knew Onesimus as a brother created, redeemed, and called by their one Lord Jesus. A clump of cells? A blob of tissue? A tumor and a parasite? Vegetative or better off dead? Definitely not! A human being! A fellow member of our sacred race! A bearer of God’s own image! Precious treasure, gift and privilege, just like you!

September 15 – Pentecost XIV (Proper 19C) – Paul confesses to some serious wickedness: “I was a blasphemer, persecutor, and insolent opponent” (1 Timothy 1:13). Abortion also belongs to this list of severe sins. Only His own even greater mercy compelled Christ Jesus to come into the world, bringing precisely the grace, love, patience, and eternal life that our evil deeds attempted but failed to obtain for us. He saves nobody but sinners and forgives even the foremost violences against life (1 Timothy 1:15).

September 22 – Pentecost XV (Proper 20C) – God “desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth” (1 Timothy 2:4). Doesn’t “all people” include every genetic member of our species? Doesn’t “be saved” mean live, from this time forth even unto forevermore? Doesn’t “God desires” indicate not limited to a certain age or conditional upon a particular ability? And doesn’t “come to the knowledge of the truth” motivate us to speak?

September 29 – Pentecost XVI (Proper 21C) – The rich man knew Lazarus’s name (Luke 16:24) but refused to treat him as a human being (Luke 16:19-21). Categorizing Lazarus as a nonentity enabled him to “feast sumptuously.” When we neglect to speak for the unborn or the elderly, when we avoid getting involved in their survival, we join the rich man’s callous carousing. But when we embrace them with our voices and our service, we take our place beside Abraham in heaven’s festivities.