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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Life Thoughts in the Church Year - One-Year Lectionary (Word)

Life Thoughts in the Church Year - One-Year Lectionary (PDF) 

May 6 – Easter VI – “God shows no partiality” (Acts 10:34b). His people once misinterpreted His Word and treated Gentiles as less treasured than Jews. Jesus declared and demonstrated that humanity doesn’t come in degrees—there’s no “more human” or “less human.” Everyone who has any “human” at all is infinitely beloved and belongs to the Lord. If He welcomes the wicked with forgiveness, He also welcomes the weak with friendship, and by His Spirit He can make saints of all (10:47). Son of God, cause us to overcome the world and obey Your commandments. Amen.

May 13 – Easter VII/Mother’s Day – “[T]he testimony of God is greater” (1 John 5:9a), like a mother’s reassurances counteracting the bully’s ridicule. “[His] Word is truth” (John 17:17), like a mother’s comforting correcting emotional assumptions. The world’s abortive ways say, “You can’t endure.” The Son of God says, “I will undertake for you.” The devil’s suicidal deceptions say, “Take control.” The Son of God says, “Trust me.” The sinful flesh says, “No, the burden’s too heavy.” The Son of God says, “Yes, the blessing is abundant!” Holy Father, sanctify our lives and our neighbors in the testimony of Your truth. Amen.

May 20 – Pentecost – “I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh” (Acts 2:17a). The Lord embraces sons and daughters, young and old. Every human being, whatever her shape and size, exists to reflect the goodness of God’s will that made her. Every human being, no matter his faculties or functions, witnesses to the authority of God’s Word that brought him forth. May this incontrovertible truth issue also from our lips and our lives! Lord and Giver of Life, breathe Your Spirit into us. Amen.

May 27 – Holy Trinity – “Woe is me! … I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips” (Isaiah 6:5). Many among us complicit in crimes against life secretly cry Isaiah’s lament. “Behold … your guilt is taken away, and your sin atoned for” (6:7). The Gospel of God’s healing holiness speaks especially to them. How can we keep silent about it when the same fierce Spirit of Fatherhood and Sonship so fills us? Loving Father, Son, and Spirit, send us to prophesy of Your eternal life. Amen.

June 3 – Pentecost II (Proper 4B) – Human frailty shows God’s greatness. The least and weakest ones among us actually declare His power and praises more clearly than any others (2 Corinthians 4:7). Shall we be embarrassed of what they boast about along with Him? Who are we to interrupt the glad tidings with embryo-destroying experiments or assisted-suicide prescriptions or abortion procedures? Should we not rather beg to carry Christ’s death just so in our own bodies that we may also bear His life (4:10-11)? Light of Light begotten, shine Your love and life through our brokenness. Amen.

June 10 – Pentecost III (Proper 5B) – Bearing unintended (at least from Eve’s perspective) offspring was key to God’s magnum opus (Genesis 3:15). A crippled body became heaven’s vehicle for humankind’s salvation. Advocating abortion access, supporting fetal-tissue research, and tolerance of hastening deaths reveal how narrow our imagination can be. Thanks be to God that His creativity exceeds our near-sightedness! Almighty Maker, open our eyes to Your vision for life until it opens our mouths as well. Amen.

June 17 – Pentecost IV (Proper 6B)/Father’s Day – Being Gospel-motivated voices for life gets frustrating when we don’t immediately see changed hearts and saved lives. But fathers both know and show that heroes are built over time, not born in a moment. We can take courage from God Himself patiently planting His own kingdom like seeds (Mark 4:26-28) and carefully cultivating it like saplings (Ezekiel 17:22-24). Boys become men, and stems will yield. This Gospel—for us too!—renews our life-affirming enthusiasm and routines. Ancient of Days, teach us to walk and talk and work by faith and not by sight. Amen.

June 24 – Pentecost V (Proper 7B) – Though his existence must have seemed pointless, Job refused suicide (Job 2:9-10). And God catalogued a world of testimonies to His enduring dominion and goodness (38:1-11). Paul likewise lists a litany of purposes in pain and hope during hardships (2 Corinthians 6:4-10). Jesus remains gracious Lord both of life and of all threats to it (Mark 4:41). He knows what it takes to save. In this comfort and confidence we may share His rest while life issues rage around us. Mighty Savior, give us Your peace and Your voice in our dangers. Amen. 

July 1 – Pentecost VI (Proper 8B) – Jesus welcomes a woman with an undignified condition (Mark 5:25). His compassion reaches into the deepest brokenness. The Lord’s mercy works healing. His acceptance restores wholeness. He even gives life to little ones where others can only see death (Mark 5:39). These riches—His presence, His power, His pardon and peace (2 Corinthians 8:9)—they motivate our message more than politics or public opinion. Gracious Savior, make us to know and show Your healing words. Amen.

July 8 – Pentecost VII (Proper 9B) – The Heavenly Father fashions crowns from thorns (2 Corinthians 12:9). In His steady hands, human pains have sacred purposes. What most would dismiss as burdensome, hopeless, futile, the God of the Cross adopts and adapts into blessing, holy, significant. He Who redeems hearts redeems hurts as well, whether crises or incurable or even crimes against life, to display His forgiving salvation. Almighty God, shape us into examples of Your power perfected in weakness and place us as its ambassadors. Amen.

July 15 – Pentecost VIII (Proper 10B) – Adoption embodies the whole truth and love of God (Ephesians 1:3-5). He came into our flesh, gave it as lifeblood sacrifice, and raised it up from restful death just to adopt sinners as His own sons and daughters. Christians promote and pursue adoptions not primarily as a solution to infertility but as extension of the grace we’ve received to our neighbors in need. Ever-present Lord, open our eyes and our arms to the ones left forsaken by the devil’s deceptions. Amen.

July 22 – St. Mary Magdalene – Mary had carried the weight of seven demons (Luke 8:2). No doubt they shouted to her about guilt and pounded her heart with grief. Yet God’s innocent Son wasn’t ashamed that she should see Him crucified. In resurrection He who forgives seventy times seven couldn’t wait to encounter her (John 20:16). We get to impart this relief and experience this rejoicing by bringing His deliverance to souls struggling with abortions. Dear Jesus, drive away our fears that we may speak Your life. Amen.

July 29 – Pentecost X (Proper 12B) – God rearranged the atmosphere to proclaim His love for human lives (Genesis 9:16). He has made all the universe’s structures, including our bodies, to serve human survival and salvation. No pregnancy comes forth except at His bidding, and no sickness sets in without His permission (Mark 6:51). If angels and atoms delight respecting every Adam and protecting each Eve, won’t it make us glad declaring it? Maker of heavens and earth, assist us to commit everything into Your care. Amen.

August 5 – Pentecost XI (Proper 13B) – Crafty deceitfulness tosses many about concerning life issues (Ephesians 4:14). Christians see more than debates and regulations. At stake are safety and eternity for members of our one body in Christ (4:16). For their sake we speak and show truth in love (4:15) according to our God-given vocations (4:11-12). We take courage that it changes hearts and saves lives even if we suffer for it (4:1). Bread of Life, build us into a body of hope. Amen.

August 12 – Pentecost XII (Proper 14B) – The antidote to despair is not autonomy (1 Kings 19:4). God only gives (or reserves!) daily bread to draw hearts into the bakery and unto the Bread-Maker (John 6:35, 44). He has designed human beings for community (1 Kings 19:7), and our opponent has no countermeasure for compassion. When we don’t apathetically abandon those facing life-or-death situations but instead embrace and assist, we receive them as treasures from heaven. Giver of Life, strengthen us to strengthen others with Your ways. Amen.

August 19 – Pentecost XIII (Proper 15B) – Even out of Jesus’ mouth the Gospel causes offense (John 6:61, 66). Yet to whom else shall we go? Shall we take refuge in the empty, ever-changing trends of politically correct popular opinion? Only the Savior speaks life—abundant life, eternal life, life for free, life for all (6:63). If our words do not declare and deliver life, they do not come from the Lord. O Wisdom from on high, let Your goodness fill our hearts and mouths. Amen.

August 26 – Pentecost XIV (Proper 16B) – Matters of marriage, sexuality, and procreation are not marginal to the Christian message. Husband, wife, and children capture the heart of the Gospel in their unconditional acceptance and self-sacrificing servanthood (Ephesians 5:31-32). Indifference or abuse to family structure diminishes our life-saving witness. Celebrating and exercising these gifts will strengthen all other social institutions as well. Heavenly Bridegroom, charm us into enthusiastically submitting to Your will. Amen.

September 2 – Pentecost XV (Proper 17B) – Life issues can present great temptations. The complications of surprise pregnancies pressure folks into adding to God’s Word. Infertility and terminal illnesses steer many toward subtracting from the Lord’s commands (Deuteronomy 4:2). Still, He who takes ownership of the inner life by His forgiveness also takes responsibility for the body’s survival by His resurrection. His presence and promises arm and guard against every threat (Ephesians 6:11). Good Shepherd and Guardian, give security to us and through us in Your words. Amen.

September 9 – Pentecost XVI (Proper 18B) – Abortions, assisted suicides, and embryo-destroying experiments all discriminate. These actions assign value according to age, appearance, ability, environment, or history. The Gospel of Jesus Christ eagerly dispenses with such partiality (James 2:1, 5). The Word of His grace proclaims life to those in need and then performs it with and for them (James 2:17-18). How may we echo and imitate this miracle in our neighborhoods? Humble Lord Jesus, teach us poverty of pride that we may obtain riches in relationships. Amen.

September 16 – Pentecost XVII (Proper 19B) – Ancient societies often avoided demon-possessed persons (Mark 9:17-18, 22). “It’s your problem, not my business. Don’t bother me, deal with it yourself.” The modern mantra, “Your body, your choice,” tells the same lie. When we keep silent and still on life issues, we only confirm this devilish deception. Christians get to speak with Christ’s courage and reach out in God’s compassion: “You matter. We’ll help” (Isaiah 50:4). O Lord, loose our tongues to declare Your mighty deeds. Amen.

September 23 – Pentecost XVIII (Proper 20B) – Everyone who loves the Lord God also loves His little ones (Mark 9:37). Every child is a treasure. Every person, especially the vulnerable, is our neighbor. Every life, even the feeblest, is gift and privilege from above. Life-or-death situations allow opportunity for us to receive them—see them, be seen with them, meet their needs. The Gospel of Jesus Christ means life with a Father and His family. Father in heaven, assist us to receive Your little ones. Amen.

September 30 – Pentecost XIX (Proper 21B) – “I can’t carry this alone” (Numbers 11:14). Moses echoes the emotions of sudden pregnancy, chronic conditions, and advocating for life among communities that ignore. “You’re not alone,” says the Lord (Numbers 11:16, Mark 9:40, James 5:14). “Lean on my people.” Jesus Christ goes with you. The communion of saints shares your joys and sorrows. Sometimes speaking up for life starts with approaching the lonely. Lord of the Church, cause our fellowship to show Your love. Amen.