+ Second Sunday after Epiphany +
17 January 2010
Isaiah 62:4-5 Sanctity of Human Life Sunday
Thousands of congregations across America, especially in our own LCMS have been encouraged and have decided to celebrate Sanctity of Human Life Sunday on a Sunday close to the infamous Supreme Court decision of January 22, 1973 known as Roe v. Wade. I am convinced it is not a matter if but WHEN this decision will be overturned, just as in the 19th century we saw the error of not recognizing the full humanity of all human beings regardless of ethnicity. Someday, it will be apparent to everyone that Roe v. Wade was equally a miscarriage of justice as was the Dred Scott decision of March 6, 1857. How do we get to that day? How do we not lose hope? How do we not become weary in well-doing? We do it mainly by reminding each other that with God nothing shall be impossible. Surely inspired by that fact, Francis Cardinal George of Chicago wrote a book last year entitled, “The Difference God Makes”. Listen to parts of a review by Helen Alvaré of the Culture of Life Foundation.
“Currently, lawmakers and other opinion leaders are twisting our love affairs with freedom, equality and diversity to serve short-term goals which ultimately weaken the family. First and foremost, our love of freedom has been transmuted into a demand for legalizing any sort of sexual intimacy one might choose. It has also been used to support a “right” to choose whether to value or to destroy nascent human life. Our respect for diversity has been misconceived as the necessity of tolerating choices about family life which are harmful both for the adults and the children involved. Our insistence upon equality has been misused to deny the obvious differences between same-sex and opposite-sex pairs.
How does he suggest we correct these abuses and promote a culture of life? First, we must reestablish the link between truth and freedom. This is a huge task on its face. In the family context, we are aided today by the enormous amount of empirical research which measures outcomes of various family choices. It is opening eyes for the first time in half a century to the fact that neither men nor women are experiencing authentic freedom when they choose to ignore the truth about intimate human relationships, e.g. these relationships’ orientation to permanence, to exclusivity and to procreation. Children suffer terribly when adults deny foundational truths about love, marriage and parenting.
Second, we must also reestablish the connection between freedom and communion. A great deal of legal and sociological scholarship published in the U.S. today suggests that the human person is naturally a “chooser.” It suggests that sometimes – and for relatively brief periods – adults choose to be in a partnership. Sometimes they choose to have one or two children, a task which takes only a fraction of their adult life. Often, they will choose not to marry, or they will choose divorce or abortion – the severing of relationships. In short, the adult human is above all else, an isolated individual who chooses, and whose choices are directed primarily toward self-gratification. Catholic teaching and sound philosophy as well as common sense beg to disagree. Beginning with God’s utterance in the garden that “It is not good for the man to be alone,” and proceeding through the rest of the scriptures, our texts state that the human person, like God, is meant for communion” Thus far Cardinal George.
When we see the Triune God as the author and sustainer of all life, we will be able to influence our culture by word and action to welcome, value and care for every life.
In our text today Isaiah said it well: Your name will no longer be "Deserted and Childless," but "Happily Married." You will please the LORD; your country will be his bride. Your people will take the land, just as a young man takes a bride. The LORD will be pleased because of you, just as a husband is pleased with his bride.
1. God shows us how to welcome every life
a. God welcomes one and all in the ministry of Jesus
b. Ministry of the body of Christ – homeless, unborn, elderly, Haiti
2. How to care for every life
a. God cares by sending the Comforter in water, bread and wine
b. The Body of Christ speaks the truth in love – vision statement
3. How to value every life
a. Not with gold or silver, but with His holy, precious blood, his innocent suffering and death
b. Grandma’s quilt: How much is it worth? How much money would you take for it? Doesn’t its value come from the one who made it with love?