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Crusade Call to Repentance, Faith, and Action - Friday 7th February, 2020

Social media: "Let us shed our tears for those who were never able to shed their own tears of repentance.  Let us ask God to remember in His mercy those who will never be able to ask mercy for themselves." - Rev. Dr. David P. Scaer

Instead, the Promethean self creates her own reality, her own truth. She forges her own meaning. And this effort at self-creation is a solitary business. The demands of community too often get in the way.

. . . And you can see how this idea of the Promethean self, the self-creating, self-sustaining person, suggested a particular kind of politics—a politics centered on the solitary individual.

In this kind of politics, individual choice, and even more, individual achievement are what count. And that makes sense: if our personhood is something we create and not discover, if it is something we assemble entirely for ourselves, then personhood is an achievement; it is something we do.

And place and home don’t matter much. And civic participation is beside the point. And church, synagogue, family—these are fine, but only as groups of individuals, and only if they don’t have too much say in society and don’t control too much of your life. . . .

The collapse of community in America has been underway for decades now, and as it accelerates, it threatens our common liberty.

Our families and farm cooperatives, our churches and labor unions—they bring us together, they relate us to each other, they tell us what we have in common. And they tell us a story about ourselves, as Americans.

They tell us that what unites us is not race or ethnicity or religious confession. What unites us is the deep conviction that every life matters, that you matter, that every person is uniquely called and uniquely gifted.

They tell us that you don’t have to be rich or famous to be important, that ordinary life—the life of work and marriage and family and worship—that life is valuable, it’s wonderful, it’s what we were meant for, it’s what changes the world.

Our communities of home and worship and labor tell us all this because they draw us into living these convictions together. And this country is built on those convictions. Which means the future of this country depends on rebuilding the communities that make us who we are.

Because in the end, it is community that makes authentic individual life possible.

It’s community that gives individuals strength. It’s community that helps us find moral purpose. It’s community that joins us together to exercise control over our lives.

And so as it turns out, our cherished belief in the liberty of every individual, and the dignity of every person, is rooted in the life we share together.

For in the words of an old theologian, “We do not exist in isolation, [but in] a world of love and hate, blessing and curse, service and destruction . . . where nobody, fundamentally speaking, belongs to himself alone.”

This excerpt is taken from a speech by Missouri Senator Josh Hawley at the sixth annual American Principles Project Gala. Click here to read the speech in its entirety.  

Be Informed

Click here to learn more about a young LCMS woman who recently start a pro-life group at her local public high school.

 

 

Be Equipped

From time to time The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod joins amicus briefs for cases in which the outcome is likely to affect the church. Check out a collection of briefs to which the LCMS has joined.

 

 

Be Encouraged

“As the Church, we are created to stand against evil. We are created to speak truth ... and forgiveness. The truth is that abortion ends the life of a human being, and we should be unwavering in our opposition to it. But that is not the end of the story. We have been given the gift of Christ, and the power of Christ can wash our sins away.” – Rev. Troy Tysdal, Church of the Lutheran Brethren, a Life Quote from Lutherans For Life • www.lutheransforlife.org

The Roe v. Wade decision legalizing abortion should be commemorated on December 28, the day of the Holy Innocents.  Churches should be decked in black for the hideous American crime of abortion which matches in its brutality Stalin’s extermination of the Ukranians in the 1930's, Hitler’s destruction of Jews in Germany and Poland in the 1940s, and the near obliteration of the Cambodians by the Khmer Rouge in the 1970s.  Our slaughter is more thorough and covers the ‘70s, ‘80s, and now the ‘90s.  We could very well pray the collect for the Day of the Holy Innocents:

“O God, whose martyred innocents showed forth Thy praise not by speaking but by dying, mortify all vices within us that our lives may in deed confess Thy faith which our tongue doth utter; through Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen.”

            With these words we are at the very foundation of Christian truth–not that we speak the right things and sigh in horror at the abominations of others, but, as the collect says, “that our lives may confess” that which “our tongue . . . utters.”  For the time comes when the Christian faith is only inadequately expressed by words and must be brought to perfect completion by action.  The slaughter of the holy innocents is for the church an unrefusable crusade call to repentance, faith, and action.

            Our opposition to abortion is part of our confessional commitment.  With Luther in his explanation to the Fifth Commandment, we say that we should “help and befriend our neighbor in every bodily need.”  And no bodily need of our neighbor’s has a greater claim on us than the unborn who die their deaths not by their own desire or God’s, but by the will of those whose bodies have given them life.  Though burdened with inherited sin from Adam in their conception, they have not been born to a life of sin.  Though they are among those who are redeemed by Christ, they hear not the Gospel of that redemption.  Their infant bodies, washed in salt, never are comforted by the saving flood of baptism.

            Thomas Jefferson said that: “A single human being is of infinite worth.”  This non-religious principle is sufficient to oppose abortion with every fiber of our bodies and every thought of our souls and every emotion of our spirits.  But the sacredness of human life has been raised to an even higher dimension by the coming of the Son of God in the flesh.  “In Him was life and this was the life which lightens everyone who is coming into the world” (John 1:9).  Now through the incarnation, the Son of God shares in the life of every man, woman, and child; and not only those children who are born, but those who were conceived and never born.  The incarnation is bound to one place and time, but it has a universal dimension infiltrating every life, filling every place, and affecting every time.  We human beings are not a collection of individuals, but we are all taken out of the flesh of Adam so that we are part of one another.  By His conception the eternal Logos permeated all of humanity, and all of humanity became part of Him.

            In the moment of our conception we are all without visible race or gender, without culture or inheritance, without language or skill.  We stand coram Deo, before God, with the first Adam to hear a verdict of condemnation and death: “in sin did my mother conceive me.”  And more importantly we stand coram Deo, before God, with the second Adam, our Lord Jesus Christ, to hear a verdict of righteous acquittal and justification, of holiness and innocence, of life and resurrection.  “This was the light which lightens everyone who comes into the world.”

            If life which exists between the conception of one simple cell and a fully developed baby is so insignificant that it can be arbitrarily snuffed out for whatever reason, then our Lord’s life within His mother’s womb was equally unimportant and we would be without hope and salvation.  But life within the womb is the most significant of all lives, and our Lord’s conception of His pure mother and His life within her womb raised to a level of perfection that life already sacred before God.  The womb of the virgin was, as Luther says, the throne room of God.  It was here as St. Paul says, that the man Jesus saw Himself with all of the attributes which are God’s.  The womb of His mother was the temple of God where Christ ruled the world and still offered Himself in continual prayer to God and His Father not for His sake, but for ours.  Here even He before He received the adoration of the shepherds and the worship of the magi, He received the worship and adoration of the Baptist, who though still unborn was already the greatest of all the prophets and in whom all the prophets from Adam to Malachi were present.

            We are here to commemorate those who were once alive, but are never born.  Yes, we offer our prayers for ourselves and for a nation which permits the holocaust to continue and even for the mothers who out of ignorance or willful design or simple inconvenience or apparently legitimate financial reasons abort their own children.  These, however, still have time to pray for themselves, to perform their own penitential vows, and to cry their own tears of sorrow.  But let us shed our tears for those who were never able to shed their own tears of repentance.  Let us ask God to remember in His mercy those who will never be able to ask mercy for themselves.  As did Luther and the fathers of Lutheran orthodoxy, we pray that God in His mercy would provide a way for those who forever remain unborn in this world to be born into the next world.  For if John the Baptist could at the voice of the mother of God confess the faith by leaping in Elizabeth’s womb, perhaps God in His infinite grace and mercy may provide a word of redemption which these children may hear and believe before their lives are snuffed out.  They no less than the Holy Innocents slaughtered by Herod are entitled to be called innocent and deserve our commemoration on this day of remembrance.  “Rachel is still weeping for her children, because,” as Jeremiah says, “they are not.”

            If their lights are not permitted to shine on earth before men to glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, perhaps they can still shine in heaven.  God can perfect praise from unborn babes, as easily as He can from sucklings.

            If with these words we trespass into the land of divine mysteries, we have done it not only out of a sense of our own frustration, but out of the knowledge that these children have been redeemed by the one who lived His life in the womb specifically for their sakes.  When the church confessed, “incarnatus est de Spiritu Sancto ex Maria Virgine et homo factus est,” “He was incarnate by the Holy Ghost of the Virgin Mary and was made man,” let the church not only genuflect in devotion to this greatest of mysteries, but may her corporate heart bend in sorrow and contrition for those who go from conception to grave without birth, for those whose mothers’ wombs are not temples of safety but halls of slaughter.

            Will He, who reigned over heaven and earth from His mother’s womb and who in his infancy escaped the butcher’s hand of King Herod, not hear our prayer and join His prayer with ours before God and His Father in heaven even now for those for whom no way of escape is provided?

            I am not one for drawing banners.  But I would be pleased to march with the community which is Concordia Theological Seminary this Saturday morning at the City-County Building behind a banner which said, “The Word was made flesh and dwelt among us.”  Let us pray.

O almighty God, who out of the mouths of babes and sucklings hast ordained strength and madest infants to glorify Thee by their deaths, mortify and kill all vices in us and so strengthen us by Thy grace that by the innocency of our lives and constancy of our faith, we may glorify Thy holy name; through Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen.

This sermon by the Rev. Dr. David P. Scaer is included in In Christ: The Collected Works of David P. Scaer, Volume 1, p. 282. Published by Concordia Catechetical Academy. Used by permission.

 

 

Be Informed

Have you ever wondered, in light of increasing publicity about same-sex marriage, where the LCMS stands on the issue? Read more here.

 

 

Be Equipped

Dr. Robert George reminds us that, “Every time you or I or anyone else fails to muster the courage to do what’s right, what God is calling us to do, there is behind that failure a still deeper failure: a failure of love.” Dr. George shares more.  

 

Be Encouraged

“The key to a Christian family living out His love—the mutual love we can only know because God first loved us—is Jesus. In the Christian household where friends, extended family members, and neighbors come together, we love one another and forgive one another. We do this because God loves and forgives us through the life, death, and resurrection of His beloved Son Jesus.” –Ron Schlegel, The Lutheran Laymen, a Life Quote from Lutherans For Life • www.lutheransforlife.org

 

 

 

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