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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February 18 – Lent I – The only death necessary to save life is Christ’s. God sacrificed His Son so that no others would have to slaughter theirs (Genesis 22:12-13). Jesus also resisted (Mark 1:13) Satan’s quick-fix temptation to suicide (jumping from the temple). What He’s done for you, He does in you – enduring, escaping, overcoming. Because of this, you can receive even physical difficulty as a good gift from the loving Heavenly Father (James 1:17). Heavenly Father, deliver us from our efforts to deliver ourselves. Amen.

February 25 – Lent II – Some among us seek to sidestep suffering by being ashamed of Jesus’ words (Mark 8:32, 38) about life issues. But sharing in His cross has a hopeful purpose because it leads to eternal life (Mark 8:31, 35). Christ prevails with grace for those who are weak (Romans 5:6). So we rejoice even in our sorrows (Romans 5:3-5) and join others in theirs. Dear Christ, take up our crosses that we may ease the burdens of the weak. Amen.

March 4 – Lent III – God made a human body – even one crucifixion destroyed – His sanctuary (John 2:19). Is this why He bluntly forbids murder (Exodus 20:13), because every human body belongs to Him (Exodus 20:2)? Indeed, He has chosen what is weak, low, labeled “not a life” (1 Corinthians 1:27-28) to be His own forever. Neither sin nor flesh’s shortcomings nullify it. Jealous God, possess us heart, body, and life that we may build up. Amen.

March 11 – Lent IV – “[Y]ou were dead in trespasses and sins…like the rest of mankind” (Ephesians 2:1, 3b). One’s own capacities or activities don’t give human life its value (Ephesians 2:9). The love of God in Christ does that, and it does so universally and infinitely (John 3:16). The very heart of the Gospel holds human life precious, even when impaired by infection or immaturity (Numbers 21:8). We rest refreshed in this grace! Gracious God, cause fountains of Your grace to flow through us. Amen.

March 18 – Lent V – “My body, my choice”; however, life is not for controlling but for offering and sharing (Mark 10:45). Our Creator bestows life as gift, promise, covenant, connecting us to Him and one another (Jeremiah 31:31-34). Broken covenants become cruel lords (Mark 10:42). Yet still Jesus enters our predicaments and understands our troubles (Hebrews 5:2, 7). No one suffers alone, and He remembers our sins no more. Eternal salvation results! Almighty Maker, enable us to share Your life with each other. Amen.

March 25 – Palm Sunday/Annunciation of Our Lord – Whose life matters most? Every human being down to the teeniest and feeblest, since God made sure to incarnate Himself as embryo in Mary’s womb and then become completely helpless in crucified execution. How much do they matter? So much that Jesus redeemed them each and all, with His lifeblood as the price. Lord Jesus Christ, bring forth Your name from our lips so that it draws all people to You. Amen.

April 1 – Resurrection of Our Lord – “Who will roll away the stone for us?” (Mark 16:3). Does abortion solve surprise pregnancies or only add death to sin? Does assisted suicide settle incurable conditions or only pile guilt upon grief? Death offers no answers but only deepens despair with darkness. Christ is risen for just such situations! Jesus brings life and salvation, hope and joy, peace and purpose. His dying and rising rolls back the stone, revealing a forgiving Father and a gracious Savior in this with us! Lord Jesus Christ, work out Your resurrection within and among us. Amen.

April 8 – Easter II – Sometimes the unassailable sanctity of life goes unseen (John 20:25). Sometimes age, appearances, inabilities, or errors seem to conceal it. We do not need productivity, popularity, prosperity, or prettiness to prove a person’s worth. By becoming incarnate from conception to crucifixion, Jesus proclaims every one of us precious. By resurrection and forgiveness, Jesus pronounces even the least of these priceless (20:29). Heavenly Father, enable us to believe and receive Your gifts even without seeing. Amen.

April 15 – Easter III – Almighty God calls us, even us, His own children (1 John 3:1). He accepts us, adopts us, and adores us as helplessly dependent little ones. Indeed, He made Himself just such a child to show us how special this is! Can we also look upon helpless and dependent persons—like embryos or incapacitated patients—not in pity or competition but with Father-like appreciation? If we see Him as He is, we shall become like Him (3:2)! Omnipotent and gentle God, let no one deceive us about the value Your love gives all humankind. Amen.

April 22 – Easter IV – Lord Jesus shepherds such fragile creatures as us with God’s presence and power (John 10:11). He shepherds through the very valley of the shadow of death itself (Psalm 23:4). In low points like terminal diagnoses and dark places like complicated pregnancies, the devil descends to pilfer and plunder life’s God-given abundance from us. We need not fear, for the self-sacrificing Resurrected One (John 10:18) promises to replenish anything evil deprives. He will not allow us to lack as He carries us to glory and honor. Faithful Guardian, sustain us in danger and make us agents of Your coming kingdom. Amen.

April 29 – Easter V – “[A]part from me you can do nothing” (John 15:5b). This holds as true of any of us as it does of unborn or elderly individuals inhabiting life’s edges. “In this is love, not that we have loved God, but that he loved us” (1 John 4:10a). Rather than our accomplishments or qualifications, His creating, redeeming, and calling our entire race gives human beings significance. If God so loves us, we also get to love one another (4:11). God of truth and love, grant us so to know Your devotion that we also delight to show it. Amen.

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.