Moreover, there was real cause to have concern – health concerns. With her first child there had been birth complications - terrible ones. Not to mention, she and her husband had just suffered a devastating miscarriage. So the doctors warned her of the increased risk of “birth defects” for babies born to aging mothers. Her Lutheran pastor was also aware of the potential health risks. So he went out of his way to reassure her that if she wanted to terminate her pregnancy because of the potential “defects,” her Lutheran church would stand with her in her decision. So would God.
Thankfully, my mother didn’t listen to her pastor. I happen to enjoy my life.
Yet I hope each of us do just that this Advent and Christmas season; listen to our pastors that is. Listen to them tell the story of something that wasn’t all that common 2000 years ago: a woman, probably in her teens, pregnant…but with no husband to speak of. Perhaps she did a lot of crying too. She might have been “expecting,” but Mary and Joseph weren’t expecting this! Talk about unplanned! Talk about unconventional! Talk about life changing!
Though, isn’t this exactly what we’re expecting this Advent and Christmas: a baby that is going to change our lives too. And that’s Good News! At least that’s what the angel called it when speaking to some shepherds near Bethlehem. It’s Gospel. Good News that gets spoken in our ears each week too. Forgiveness, life, and salvation that is placed in our lowly manger, on our lips, this season. His life, His death, and His resurrection that we have been baptized into, completely changing life as we know it. Yours and mine. Body and soul. A life we enjoy now, but a fulfillment that is not yet. New life that is nothing less than the holistic redemption of all creation.
Turns out, Jesus is holistically pro-life.
Just like Lifeline hopes to be, holistically pro-life that is; and hopes to encourage you to be until Jesus’ Second Coming. Yes, abortion is an important issue to address individually and as the body of Christ in our society, but it is not the only pro-life issue. Being holistically pro-life includes offering post-abortion support (something at which we could be a lot better). A holistic approach to life also includes addressing looming issues like human-trafficking, adoption, euthanasia, end of life issues, even providing for people whom society often treats as “defective” or “less than” (folks who happen to be blind, deaf, or developmentally delayed, among others). With that in mind, Lifeline has constructed a website to serve as a resource hub for the English District on life issues at www.englishdistrictlifeline.org. And looking ahead to 2015, Lifeline’s Task Force will be considering new ways to connect with pastors and congregations across our District, region by region. We invite you to be a part of this, for certainly Jesus’ holistic approach to life includes His work for, in, and through you by His Word and Spirit. And yes, even though these issues of life are often tough, circumstantial, and sensitive, we can strive together to seek God’s answer to them in Christ, who is our Life.
So to that end, let us be your Lifeline.
I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full. John 10:10b