This Sunday is actually going to be the anniversary of Roe vs. Wade, which has in recent history become an occasion for some congregations to have “Life Sunday” or “Sanctity of Human Life Sunday” on the Sunday nearest to Jan 22nd. Another great suggestion for celebrating the Sanctity of Life would be on March 25th, the Feast of the Annunciation.
First of all, Lutherans for Life does a good job with Life issues, but as I was thinking of my sermon for this Sunday I thought of some things that are tempting and some things which may cause trouble. As I have been one to criticize “Missional Righteousness” from those who make everything about missions and how much witnessing we are doing, I would apply the same caution to those who start to establish some form of “Life Righteousness” based upon things that they have or haven’t done and also the views which they hold in relation to Life issues.
That being said, preachers this Sunday will have to deal with the temptation to preach against specific actual sins while not making sure that all hearers are cut to the quick rather than pinning medals on one another’s chests for being “pro-life”. By this I mean that this Sunday still needs to be about sin and grace, and yes there are specific “anti-life” sins that are out there, but the problem with specifics is that someone who has not done them will not feel guilt from it, but actually may begin building their ladder into heaven on their works. There should be always a good dose of Original Sin so that all may be laid low.
For all of the preaching and talking against things that we find ourselves doing this weekend, we need remember that there are wounded souls sadly misled by the devil, the world, or sinful flesh to commit sins against God with respect to His gift of Life. We need also remember that Life issues go beyond abortion, euthanasia, eugenics and other end of life issues. They go to the very attitude we carry towards life itself, the attitude we have towards children, towards the elderly, the incapacitated, and various other things. Life issues can include medical treatments, forms of birth control (in fact birth control as a concept is a life issue), advanced directives, and so forth. All of these things are involved in “Life”. Other more seasoned preachers/hearers may add other specific life issues in their comments below.
So this Sunday, as you celebrate the gift of physical Life, remember that the only Life you have before God is made possible by the righteousness of Jesus. Even your “Life Righteousness” is a filthy rag without Jesus. Remember Augsburg IV!