Home » Columns, Headline

Choose life!

April 30, 2018 One Comment

The annual March for Life in Ottawa is May 10, 2018.

by Adrian Rhodes

We live in a time when everything in Canada seems turned upside down. We have abortion on demand for just about any reason, and euthanasia – euphemistically called medical assistance in dying – for terminal illness, however defined. People participating in these actions seem proud of what they do to Canada’s most vulnerable.

As Lutherans, and hopefully for all Christians, abortion on one end of life and physician assisted suicide on the other are abhorrent. The Bible, as our grounding in faith, along with the Small Catechism can help build our understanding of these issues.

Our Lutheran grounding in Scripture is the starting point of our faith. Scripture is a living document assuring us that its focus is life.

We are told “choose life” (Deut. 30:19) and to live abundantly.

God’s word assures us that “in the womb I knew you” (Jer. 1:5). God knows us in the most intimate way when we are at our most vulnerable.

The same God “binds up our wounds and heals us” (Psalm 147:3). That healing is offered to all.

We are assured we will live with Him, and that “He will wipe away every tear from their eyes” (Rev. 21:4).

These references show how God is with us throughout life with the assurance that not only will He heal the pains of this world, but He will care for us in ways we can never imagine.

Since the Scripture is our foundation, what do we learn about life issues from the Small Catechism? One section to meditate upon is Dr. Luther’s explanation of the Fifth Commandment: “We should fear and love God so that we do not hurt or harm our neighbour in his body but help and support him in every physical need.” Section 52 of The Explanation elaborates on this essential teaching:

  • On abortion: “The living but unborn are persons in the sight of God from the time of Conception.” A Scripture reference for this is Jeremiah 1:5 “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart.”
  • On euthanasia: “The severely handicapped, infirm, helpless and aged are persons in the sight of God with life given by Him and to be ended only by Him.” Proverbs 6:16-17 says “There are six things the Lord hates, seven that are detestable to Him: haughty eyes, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood.”
  • On suicide: “My own life is a gift from God to be ended only by Him.” Scripture says, “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat, or about your body, what you will wear.” (Luke 12:22). We are told to, “speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute” (Prov. 31:8).

These assurances from God’s Word are particularly precious to me since I grew up without a father and have non-visible disabilities. It takes faith, patience, and perseverance to cope with the challenges, but I know God will heal me through Christ, so the “present sufferings of this world” aren’t worth recounting. We still must cope with challenges here and now—like medical discrimination in care, ageism, and able-ism—but as Christians we can stand against these negative attitudes and fulfil the Gospel by putting love into action.

Consider the precedent of God appointing a watchman in Ezekiel 33. The watchman protects his town, doing his duty to the people as a requirement of his appointment. “But if the watchman sees the sword coming and does not blow the trumpet, so that the people are not warned, and the sword comes and takes any one of them, that person is taken away in his iniquity, but his blood I will require at the watchman’s hand” (Ezekiel 33:2-4).

Consider this a sort of trumpet call.

We are to watch over each other, not as a requirement of law, but as our response to the Gospel. We do this by knowing the foundation of the Bible and building on that with the Small Catechism.
What can we do using our different talents? Pray for guidance; start or join a Life Group; write letters to our governments; write to newspapers; visit the sick; care for orphans thereby putting our faith into action—rooted in the Gospel, not the law.

Although Canadian law (or lack of law) says we can kill the unborn, newborn, the sick, dying, and elderly, our faith points us to the truth of God’s Law: these actions are wrong. Yet we have very ordinary alternatives through simple, faith-filled actions.

In these uncertain social contexts, we have some certainties. First, that silence equals consent and inaction equals approval. Second, countless unborn children and approximately 2100 people (likely more) have been killed in a medical context in Canada. Third, each of those numbers represents a human being who has been killed.

We must challenge our culture and world, drawing comfort from putting our faith into action whatever those actions are. Lives created by God are at stake—yours, mine and those of other vulnerable Canadians. Now is the time to act. God has redeemed us and placed us in this world in difficult times. God has spoken; how can we not act?

Adrian Rhodes is a Board Member-at-Large for Lutherans for Life-Canada and works at the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition head office. He worships at Our Saviour Lutheran Church in London, Ontario.

One Comment »

  • PoP Enews of May 13 | Prince of Peace Lutheran Church said:

    […] Choose life! We live in a time when everything in Canada seems turned upside down. We have abortion on demand for just about any reason, and euthanasia – euphemistically called medical assistance in dying – for terminal illness, however defined. People participating in these actions seem proud of what they do to Canada’s most vulnerable. As Lutherans, and hopefully for all Christians, abortion on one end of life and physician assisted suicide on the other are abhorrent. The Bible, as our grounding in faith, along with the Small Catechism can help … READ MORE… […]

Leave your response!

Add your comment below, or trackback from your own site. You can also subscribe to these comments via RSS.

Be nice. Keep it clean. Stay on topic. No spam.

You can use these tags:
<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

This is a Gravatar-enabled weblog. To get your own globally-recognized-avatar, please register at Gravatar.