Sunday January 22nd, 2017 – Third Sunday after the Epiphany – Sanctity of Life Sunday
“Though war arise against me, I will be confident” Psalm 27:3
Pro-life work is war. The war requires resources, strategy, perseverance, and a clear sense of why we fight. The war has casualties—1.2 million dead per year, 1.2 million mothers wounded, 1.2 million broken and/or hardened fathers, and other collateral damage in a society that is increasingly callous to life. Those who fight in this war—not those who simply take a theoretical pro-life position—need courage, for they will find that they have enemies.
War pervades the Bible, Old Testament and New. From the time the serpent deceived Eve in the garden, the Lord promised to crush the serpent’s head. Israel was called to take the Promised Land by war. Paul speaks of war, not against flesh and blood, but against powers and principalities. Even Jesus’ laying down His life is an act of war—notice how Isaiah 53, the most explicit reference to Jesus’ death in the Old Testament, is couched in the language of war—the bearing of the arm, the dividing of the spoil. God’s people today fight not with swords and spears, but we fight nonetheless.
Psalm 27 was written by a warrior—David, the king who knew war, and to such an extent that the Lord did not let him build the Temple because he was a man of war—and in a time when he was being pursued by his enemies. And what can we learn from David in the midst of war? That war is grounded in worship. Listen to David:
The LORD is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The LORD is the stronghold of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?
One thing have I asked of the LORD, that will I seek after: that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the LORD and to inquire in his temple.
You have said, “Seek my face.” My heart says to you, “Your face, LORD, do I seek.”
Teach me your way, O LORD, and lead me on a level path because of my enemies.
Wait for the LORD; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the LORD!
Ultimately our effectiveness in this war, or in any war the Lord calls us to fight, lies not in weapons or strategy, but in worship—a desire to know God and a trust that, in the end, He will bring about His victory, in His time and in His way. In the meantime, we wait upon Him, even as we work, for courage comes from worshipping and waiting upon God.
Prayer for Life:
Lord God, Thank You for creating human life in Your image. Thank You for my life and the lives of those I love. Thank You for teaching us through Scripture the value You place on life. Help me to uphold the sanctity of life in my church and community. Give me the strength to stand up to those forces that seek to destroy the lives of those most vulnerable, the unborn, the infirm and the elderly. Today I commit myself never to be silent, never to be passive, never to be forgetful of respecting life. I commit myself to protecting and defending the sacredness of life according to Your will, through Christ our Lord. Amen.
This week’s reflection has been written by Anglicans for Life’s Board Member, the Rev. Dr. W. Ross Blackburn. Rev. Blackburn is the Rector of Christ the King, an Anglican Fellowship in Boone, NC.
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