The impact of abortion has been immense. In addition to all of the children who won't see the light of day, think about how many moms, dads, and grandparents have suffered from these decisions for many years after the fact. I have met with some of them. Their pain is real and deep. Thankfully, healing and forgiveness can be found in Christ Jesus. The mercy and love of our Savior knows no bounds. If you have been touched by abortion in any way, please know of God's healing touch. Seek help if you are struggling to overcome the pain and grief.
The fall campaign of 40 Days for Life is going on right now. Life Chain also takes place this Sunday. These are ways we raise awareness and also pray that all may recognize the sanctity of each human life. I hope you will consider getting involved.
The "Respect Life" umbrella is a huge one. Obviously, 60 million deaths since 1973 through abortion puts that issue in the forefront. It will be difficult to get the other issues right until we protect the most helpless and vulnerable among us. Let's take a look at some of the other issues.
The sale of fetal body parts has been in the news since the release of the undercover videos from the Center for Medical Progress. Embryonic stem cell research, reproductive technologies, and surrogate pregnancies also add some moral dilemmas to the mix.
Child abuse and child neglect are huge areas of concern in the United States. Some statistics show that a report of child abuse comes through about every 10 seconds. Over three million reports per year in the United States involving over six million children demonstrate a real problem in our country.
Education and formation may not seem like a life issue at first glance, but it is. Indoctrination can be very much a part of the educational system. What is being presented to our children, adolescents, and young adults in regard to the formation of their value system? As a parent, do you approve? Did you pay thousands of dollars for a college education for your child only to see him/her completely abandon the value system you had tried to instill as a parent? How was that for a return on your investment of tuition dollars?
Poverty, shelter, food, healthcare, and the other basic necessities of life are not as accessible to all as we would like. How do we as Christians respond to these needs? What role does the Church have in meeting these needs? Is this only a problem for the government?
Environmental stewardship has been thrust in the limelight with Pope Francis' On Care For Our Common Home. Are we being good stewards of what God has entrusted to our care?
Labor rights have been in the spotlight recently as well. Just wages and safe working conditions are essential. Does this mean that a $15.00 per hour minimum wage is the answer? What is the role of the Church in this issue? What is the role of the government?
Immigration issues are in the news daily. At first it centered on our southern border. Now, the Syrian and Middle East refugee crisis will impact our nation. How do we as Church respond?
Human trafficking continues to be a major issue although it doesn't get as much media coverage as other issues. How can we as Church better protect the vulnerable among us to keep them from being enslaved?
Violent crime and juvenile delinquency are social problems that never go away. The frightening component is the decreasing age of the perpetrators committing heinous crimes. How can young children commit such horrendous acts of violence as has been depicted on the news?
Imprisonment issues and the death penalty have been discussed for years. Since 1976, there have been 1,415 executions in the United States.
Mental health issues and the rights of persons with disabilities needs to be kept in mind as well. Mental health issues impact many people in a way that leads to homelessness, addictions, and other difficulties. How can we as Church better serve those in need of our loving attention?
End of life issues are growing more prevalent with each passing year. The killing of nonfunctional individuals is a growing concern. They may call it "mercy" killing, but euthanasia does not serve society well. Likewise, physician-assisted suicide may have been made popular by Brittany Maynard, but it is a slippery slope that will also not serve society well.
As clergy members prepare to preach this Sunday on the issues of life, they also prepare for the criticisms and push-back they will receive because of it. Some people feel like the preacher enters into the realm of politics when these issues are addressed. Please recognize that these issues are first and foremost MORAL issues. They are politicized to be sure. However, regardless of what the culture and society would have us believe, they are essentially moral issues. Our politics simply reflect our culture. At this point in time we are obviously a society geared toward a culture of death.
My prayer for each of us is that we recognize our intrinsic value in the eyes of God. In Jeremiah chapter one we read, "Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you; I appointed you a prophet to the nations." In 1 Corinthians 3: 16-17 we read, "Do you not know that you are God's temple and that God's spirit dwells in you? If anyone destroys God's temple, God will destroy him. For God's temple is holy, and you are that temple."
My encouragement to you today is simple. Be grateful for the gift of your own life. Thank God for the many blessings you have received. Life may not have always been easy, but it has been blessed by God's grace. Secondly, help others understand the sacred value and dignity of each human life. We are each a temple of the Holy Spirit. How differently would our world look if we each understood that a little more fully.
Finally, keep in mind the Scripture verse we see touted at the football games. "For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, so that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life."
John 3: 16