by Rev. Jerry Kieschnick
The very same week that Barack Obama was inaugurated in Washington as 44th president of the United States, a crowd estimated to be hundreds of thousands strong gathered in the nation’s capital Jan. 22 to take part in this year’s March for Life.
The march has been going on every year since the first anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court’s 1973 Roe v. Wade decision that legalized abortion in this country.
Then, on Jan. 23, the day after this year’s march, President Obama repealed the ban on federal funds for organizations that provide or promote abortions overseas.
It is more important than ever that Christians stand up for the sanctity of life as a gift from God. It was a privilege for me to take part in this year’s march and to offer the opening prayer during pre-march activities. (The text of the prayer is online at http://www.lcms.org/?14682.)
It also was gratifying to take part in the event with fellow Lutherans. Many of them, including those who joined me for pre-march worship at Immanuel Lutheran Church in Alexandria, Va., are veterans of these marches. (More information about the march and Lutheran participation is available at http://www.lcms.org/?147034.)
We must continue to work and pray in support of life, not only embryonic life, but life at all stages.
In that regard, I have received communications from LCMS members who encourage our church body to broaden its traditional concern with protecting life at its beginning and earthly end. The encouragement is to provide a more comprehensive support for life from conception to the grave.
We in The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod have long spoken out against abortion and euthanasia. We must continue to do so. I also believe it is time for our congregations, members, and leaders to speak strongly and vociferously regarding other matters that could be included under the umbrella of “pro-life” issues as well.
For example, LCMS congregations and leaders ought to encourage prevention of unintended pregnancies and provide support—physical, financial, emotional, and spiritual—for those who are dealing with a pregnancy out of wedlock in a way that demonstrates as much love and concern for the one who is carrying a child as for the unborn child itself.
For years, the LCMS has encouraged adoption, especially through our recognized social-service organizations. Some 33 years ago, my dear wife, Terry, and I worked with one such organization in adopting our son, who at that time was two years of age.
Supporting organizations that care for children through the provision of foster homes and adoptive parents will go a long way toward showing our care and concern for life outside as well as inside the womb. It also seems apparent to me that those who become pregnant out of wedlock and make the conscious decision not to terminate the pregnancy through abortion are in need of our support throughout their pregnancy. Also, keep in your loving concern, as does Christ, those who at another point in life made a decision to abort an unborn child and now grieve that they did.
What wonderful opportunities for our congregations to act in love toward their neighbors!
David was overwhelmed by the realization that God cares for us with loving concern at all stages of our lives. “All the days ordained for me were written in Your book before one of them came to be,” David writes in Psalm 139. “How precious to me are Your thoughts, O God! How vast is the sum of them!” (vv. 16–17).
What a precious gift of God life is.
It is important that we continue to show our support for unborn life in such tangible ways as taking part in the March for Life. It is equally important for us to emphasize in other ways our concern for others and our thanks to God for life—and His care for life—throughout its earthly duration.