Tuesday, January 16, 2018

To Celebrate Life

Thanks to Laramie County Right to Life for inviting me to speak with you today. It is deeply humbling.

In many ways, I still feel like an interloper who joined the fight way too late. For decades before I first walked with you, others carried the torch.

They are my heroes. Let me name just two: Pastor Mark Maas from Cheyenne’s King of Glory has been quietly supporting this march for decades; and for those same decades, Pastor Chris Brandt from Lovell annually drove his flock the 820 mile round trip to be here.

I name only two, but they are proxy for thousands. People just like you, who take the time to be here, and embody the quiet strength of the pro-life movement. We do not have mega-donors and paid demonstrators or lobbyists. We have a love for people who cannot speak for themselves, and the conviction to make their voice heard, and be the conscience of the Nation. You are my heroes.

This year our theme is “Celebrate Life.” I want to talk about this theme in two parts: Why is life worth celebrating? And How do we do it?

First, what is it about life that we should celebrate it?

I answer: It is an utter gift! Human beings are capable of building and destroying practically anything. In the age of technology, we can build rockets that put men on the moon and explore the solar system. We can split the atom and create new elements.

But we are no closer to creating life than we were when Mary Shelly first imagined Frankenstein… Not human life, Not animal life, Not plant life, Not even single-cell life! We celebrate life because the one and only way for a new life to come into the world is for God to give it.

Life is the blessed intrusion of the divine. It is an uncontolable power that comes into our dying world. The one thing that we need above all others, and the one thing we cannot get for ourselves.

When you think about life in this way, it’s no wonder that it is under attack on every front. Every. Single. Life. Irrefutably declares that there is a Lord and Giver of Life.

Life stands as a challenge to all godless creeds. As godless man claims total control over mind, body and spirit, his utter inability to create LIFE shatters the illusion.

In John chapter 11, we are told how the risen Lazarus became the target of the wrath of the priests. The very fact that he was walking around, alive, was a living Testament to Jesus’ power for life. Lazarus marked Jesus as the very God they wanted to deny. “So, the chief priests made plans to put Lazarus to death as well.” (John 12:10)

Mankind, despite all our powers, cannot create life. We can either celebrate and cherish it, or to hate and destroy it, but we can’t make it.

Still in our day, the high priests in the halls of power show their power by killing and perverting life that God has made. Incapable of making a single zygote, they have built an industry around playing with them like tinker-toys. Unable to be gods, they take what God alone has done, and twist, dissect, freeze, thaw, reassemble, and kill.

Neither can the high priests of secular religion preserve a person’s life perpetually. So they exercise the illusion of control by killing prematurely, before God’s intention. This, they euphemistically call, “physician assisted suicide.”

When we celebrate life, we rejoice in the fact that One who is both more powerful and infinitely more Good remains in control. And our celebration stands in stark contrast to the macabre rage against the Creator, and the grasping to keep human control.

So how shall we then celebrate life?

I simply answer with the Psalmist: “Blessed is He who considers the poor….” (41:1) That’s where it all begins.

There are thousand things that you can do to love your neighbor’s life. They are all important. No one can do all of them, but none of them should be left undone.

This can easily lead us either to freeze-up in indecision, and do nothing at all. …or it can lead to burnout, frustration and other hinderances to our love for life and for one another.

There’s a better way.

God promises: “Blessed is He who considers the poor.” …and that’s not just a future, eternal blessing. To consider the poor produces immediate dividends. Love, Joy, peace, patience and kindness… all the fruits of the Spirit are gifts for this present life.

So, simply consider the poor. Set your mind on lives that are considered less valuable than yours. Think about what it’s like to be in their shoes. Set your heart to care for them. No need to guilt yourself, or others into action. God will take care of the action. He calls you to start with mind.

Make it your business, every day, to learn one story of some person whose life is in danger, or not valued.

It may be an unborn child, or a mother. An elderly person, or a suicidal adolescent. It may be a person you know personally, or a may be a whole class of people collectively. Whoever it is, think about them. Inform yourself about them.

Put yourself in their shoes during their time of trouble, and also when their trouble is past. Think about what you would like to say to them if you could. Think about what you would like someone to do for you if you were in their shoes.

Then pray for them. Ask God to give them those things. Ask God for somebody to speak those words. Pray the LORD of the harvest to send laborers into that harvest. And having commended them to God, go about your day with a happy heart, carrying them with you.

Make this a regular habit. As a part of your daily routine, deliberately think about someone who doesn’t know what an incredible gift their life is, or somebody whose life is in danger because others don’t know how precious God’s gift is.

As days turn into weeks, and weeks into months, God will be bringing all sorts of people to your attention. What begins in fits and starts and in weakness, God will take and bless, filling your mind with all sorts of people… the unborn, and also their mothers, their fathers, their siblings and grandparents, their uncles and aunts.

The depressed and confused, those in danger of doing themselves permanent harm and even death driven by false believe, despair and the prophets of hopelessness. God Himself will cast your gaze upon all these people and more.

And as He does this, He will also do several things for you.

First, distant theory is incarnated. You see more clearly when you are thinking of actual people in flesh and blood. Issues that are humanized, are no longer complicated issues but singular people, seen in singular clarity. Our love for actual living people has the ability to blow away the fog and the confusing rhetoric of the prophets of death.

Second, God Himself will fill your prayers with purpose and particularity. That’s a promise. As the scope of the world’s problems becomes more fully known, we are given an ever-deeper humility. We are convicted of our own utter weakness. This, blessedly, drives us to pray to the One who does all things; and to trust the cause ever more to Him, alone.

Third, God will—sooner or later-- also lay on your heart a special task. He will start a fire deep within you and present you with opportunities for service that are unique to you. He doesn’t drive us like cattle, He leads you like sheep. He doesn’t dictate slaves, but invites you to serve.

And in this service, and in this prayer, and in this awareness of your neighbor’s needs, God accomplishes the greatest thing of all. He gives you to see that the most blessed One of all, is the One who considers YOU.

Your ultimate and eternal blessing is because Jesus considers you. We are all in this together. None of us knows the value of life as much as the One who gives us life. All of us live in deeper poverty than we can ever know. But Jesus knows.

He knows what you are lacking and what you can be. He comes that you may have life and have it abundantly. He sets His mind on you. He prays to the Father for you. He gives His life in service for you. Because He is the most blessed and holy, the Lord and Giver of Life.

Blessed is He who considers the poor.”

God bless you all.

Thank you.

No comments:

Post a Comment