At that time Jesus declared, “I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that you have hidden these things from the wise and understanding and revealed them to little children; yes, Father, for such was your gracious will. All things have been handed over to me by my Father, and no one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal him. Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”
Some things are not complicated. One is the life that grows in the womb of a mother. If you show an ultrasound picture to a child, he will tell you the picture is of a baby. Try it. It requires the instruction of the “wise and understanding” for someone to learn to believe (or at least to pretend to believe) that the baby is a fetus or a product of conception. Of course, both are true—an unborn baby is a fetus (fetus being a Latin word for child), as well as a product of conception (the sterile language is, if nothing else, precise). The terms aren’t necessarily a problem, unless we marshal Latin words or create sterile terms to suggest that the unborn child is something else than a baby. That requires re-education and the necessary invention of a whole new vocabulary.
But perhaps these things aren’t so obvious to everyone. Jesus says something striking, and perhaps even disturbing—that the Father has hidden certain things from the “wise and understanding” and revealed them to little children. What exactly the Father has hidden is not altogether clear (it probably refers to the kingdom of heaven that both John and Jesus proclaimed—Matthew 11:1-24), but it is striking that Jesus claims that the “wise” cannot in fact see certain truths because they are hidden from them by God. And they will remain hidden until Jesus reveals the Father to them. Those who have been involved in pro-life efforts for years are not surprised, for the window into the womb provided by modern science in the last decades has not made obvious the obvious, at least not to everyone. We need to pray that the Lord will make the hidden plain.
Yet Jesus doesn’t leave it there. Just after speaking words infused with notions of divine sovereignty, Jesus calls out, “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” Here is an invitation, one issued for all. Jesus invites all the weary and heavy laden, without condition. This is crucial as we consider matters concerning life. If there is one thing that has rendered our world weary and heavy laden, it is abortion. Millions because of abortion deal with regret, depression, hardness, guilt, anger, and the like and desperately need the rest that comes only in Jesus. We have learned much—far too much—from the world. We need to learn from Him. And He will teach us, if we come.
The above passage is obviously not about abortion. It is about sin, the hardness of the human heart toward God. And yet it is about abortion, because it is about sin. And there is only one solution to the problem of sin—Jesus. Abortion is, and always will be, a Gospel matter.
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.