Faith is meant to be centered in our Lord God and in Him alone. We live in a world that loves to focus on “unplanned” or “unwanted” pregnancies, often using each as if they are the same and have the same meaning. As we enter this season, let us remember that our salvation is centered in an “unplanned” pregnancy. By no means was the announcement to Mary by the Angel Gabriel of her pregnancy and that she, though a virgin, had the Son of God in her womb planned and, one could argue, necessarily wanted, but she received it with grace and faithfulness as we find within Scripture,
“And Mary said, “Behold, I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word.” And the angel departed from her.”Luke 1:38, ESV
These words are simple, but show a sense of humility and faithfulness. Now, of course, when I address this here, I am speaking to those who are followers of Christ and trust that the Bible is the inspired Word of God (I do question, however, how one could call themselves a Christian and not believe the Bible and pick and choose). Now I do know that this comment may cause some controversy for some readers, but I will move on from here. At the time of Mary, the a virgin being pregnant would be seen as it would today, not possible and a story that would not be believed. For her it could have affected her betrothal and her life could’ve been put at great risk. Some may argue that there would be no way out, but if one were to do a simple search on a search engine you will find countless texts on Greek and Roman views on abortion and you can find the many tinctures that they would use that would be the equivalent of a chemical abortion we would find today. The ending of pregnancy is nothing new, as the Preacher says, “What has been is what will be, and what has been done is what will be done, and there is nothing new under the sun.” (Ecclesiastes 1:9, ESV) Sin is sin and it, unfortunately, requires little imagination. So, we can still appreciate Mary caught in a situation where her faith would have found “getting rid of the child” as anathema while still being aware that it could mean risking of her own standing and possibly life.
Now, I know I write this just before Christ the King Sunday and we will then be entering into Advent and one may ask, “Why?” We live in a troubling time as we look and see a reality that we may have a President and a Vice President that have publicly taken the most pro-Abortion stance of any predecessor, which is troubling. This is not meant to be a political statement and my prayer is that the rhetoric that has been put out there was more appeasement than praxis. My prayer is that the protection of innocent life is something that isn’t minimized or the voices are not silenced. I trust in God’s control and power, however, and do believe that regardless of the leadership of the day, our moral calling is to speak out and teach our faith families the importance of protecting life. As followers of Christ, we are called to be faithful and pray for our leaders while maintaining our views and stances that are central to the faith. We feed the hungry because that is what we do and who we are. We visit the sick, fatherless, imprisoned, and hospitalized because that is what we do and who we are. We proclaim the Gospel and the hope that is within us because that is what we do and who we are. Our mission does not change. Fundamental change does not happen through governmental mandate, but through faith families standing firm in the biblical Christian faith raising up disciples and teaching what we have been taught.
What this election has taught me, maybe more than others, is that it is my responsibility as well as those whom God has placed under my charge to be more vigilant in the proclamation of the Word and doing the good Work that God has called us to do. It is what has become a hot button word that sometimes does not have a great depth of meaning, Discipleship. Sitting at the feet of Jesus and seeking to do what we are called to do and be and focusing on raising up disciples to lead and evoke positive change for Christ in the world. We have some many issues that are systemic because sometimes we focused more on teaching societal ideals that may not have been entirely inline with God’s Word.
Life is a central ideal of God, particularly the preservation of life – namely the life of the eternal kind. When put in the context of eternal life we can see the differentiation of it as one could easily argue throughout the historical books of the Old Testament we find a lot of lives being taken by people of God and some at the command of God. I have actually had people tell me how evil that was and there is an atheist group that regularly protests the Ark Encounter in Kentucky because of how God wiped out life on earth sparing the few on the Ark. It is interesting to me how those that deny the existence of God or the reality that the main moral tenets that we find within the Western world are centered in the Word of God that they impugn the morality of God and the faith that we who believe in Him espouse with such arguments. Morality, without a foundation, is subjective otherwise. Why not do what you want to do? As long as it doesn’t hurt anyone that does not deserve it, right? We fail to see that there are those who struggle with the reality of what it is that God is doing, both Christian and non-Christian alike. God, being sovereign and all knowing, has a reason and an understanding beyond our own when it comes to the issues we find within the Old Testament, particularly in Joshua. God was seeking to preserve a select group people to be set apart from all other, but that would require that they not be influenced by other cultures that worshiped idols. God had seen what had occurred in Egypt and how His people had not been worshiping Him as He desired, yet they were oppressed. For a long time the people of Israel had become comfortable and complacent since, because of Joseph, they had lived a favored life for a time. In that time did they turn to God? We don’t know truly, but for a long period of time they lived in Egypt even after the death of Joseph and then we hear of their suffering at the hands of the Egyptians who had begun to see them as a threat. We have the story of how God provided protection for Moses who would become the one who God chose to lead His people back to the Promised Land. It is amazing how quickly God’s providence is forgotten and taken for granted.
How often do we talk the lives we are given for granted? The sad reality is that we don’t know what potential has been lost in our world because of the loss of life. God knows and God even knew the prospect that the lives would be lost. Each person who elected to abort did have a choice – turn to God who will show a path or turn to the World who will take care of the “problem.” For those who chose to take care of the “problem,” God is still there to heal them but, like Adam and Eve in the Garden, they often feel the overwhelming impact of what they have done they flee from God or those who carry His Word because of fear of being seen naked/exposed. As the Church, followers of Christ are meant to be a source of comfort to those who feel exposed. Unlike Ham, who went and told his brothers about their father, Noah, and the shameful act he had committed to become drunk and lie naked/exposed, Shem and Japheth cover up their father’s nakedness and do not look upon him and we are to do the same for those who feel the overwhelming sense of shame for what they have done. “Peace to you” means exactly that do not be troubled or feel like you are exposed but let us cover you in Christ’s love and let you know the door which leads to eternal life.
I write these words as I reflect and celebrate the many victories for life that have been won over the past four years as funding for abortions have been reduced as well as the number of abortions being performed annually. We still have the battle to be fought against the abortion pill and other abortifacients that are in our world, but ultimately those battles are not won in the courtroom but in the hearts and minds of people. The greatest tool we have for transformation is the Gospel of Jesus Christ. This is as the writer in Hebrews says, “For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.” (Hebrews 4:12, ESV) That is why many do not like to be in the Word of God or do all they can to discredit it because when we submit ourselves to the Word, it kills us. How so? It kills that old sinful self, i.e. the old Adam, then Christ can raise us up, i.e. the new Adam. That is its purpose and power. In it we find our hope and in it we bring salvation to a fallen world.
We, as people of faith, are reminded that Christ is King and we are His people. Let us stand up in our faith and pray that our leaders will know Him and follow Him. This is something that we, as a Nation, should have been doing all along.