Pastor's Notebook

 Dear Friends in Christ,

Below are the remarks I made at Eyewitness for Life's (E4L) celebration “Toast to No Roe,” on Sunday, January 22. This month at Prince of Peace the benevolence will go to E4L. Please be generous to this wonderful organization, of which our member Dottie Enters is the Executive Director. Blessings in Christ! Pastor Engler

 

Do you remember the date September 3, 1783? Few do. It was the official end of the Revolutionary war. However, most know the date July 4, 1776. The Declaration of Independence was signed. That was near the start of the war. Some might think a document was signed, and without much effort the United States came into existence. History is more messy and complicated than our time-line synopses of it.

Likewise, June 24, 2022 is an important date. The Supreme court overturned one of the most evil and unjust laws in the history of the world, Roe v Wade. The date January 22, 1973 should be a date that lives in infamy. And that is not an overstatement, based simply on the number of people affected by the Roe law: 63 million babies were killed, plus the trauma caused to their mothers and fathers (add those #s up!) and others, and the lingering effects. That law coarsened our nation, our people, in what others have called a culture of death. Yes, we praise our Lord that Roe v Wade was reversed. We will sing a doxology in a moment. But the history of abortion and working against unjust laws is messy and complicated, and we are living in the midst of such history. As the signing of the Declaration of Independence signaled further hostilities with Great Britain, our celebration of the end of Roe also means that the battles for life will continue in different areas.

I find many similarities in the current history of our country over this most fundamental right to life and the founding of our country. It would have been easy for the Pro-Life community and Christian believers and workers for Life to get discouraged over the course of the last 50 years. History helps. I have read that At no time did more than 45 percent of colonists support the war, and at least a third of colonists fought for the British. Unlike the Civil War, which pitted regions against each other, the war of independence pitted neighbor against neighbor. Americans were not only rebelling against the mother country, they were fighting each other.”

I get frustrated at the length of time, and the injustice of abortion, the harm it causes, along with the number of people—the percentage of people that support it, even 

amongst the Christian community. Abortion is more clearly wrong than whatever the grievances of the American colonists were against Britain! Few today would like to go back and say they were part of the 55% that didn’t want America to exist as an

independent nation.

But, our Lord is the Lord of History. He controls the rise and fall of nations. He sets limit to the evil that humans can do. He is the Lord of History, who entered our history. And this Lord of History promises to His people that He will work all, even great evil and injustice, for the good of those who love Him.

I want to only briefly say a few words about our Lord in relation to the topic of Abortion and Life. A few weeks ago in our church we heard a reading from the Prophet Isaiah, that was a prophecy about the coming of the eternal Son of God, Jesus, into the flesh, through His Mother, the Virgin Mary. A portion reads: “The LORD called me from the womb, from the body of my mother he named my name.” (49:1-9) Our LORD said that Jesus was formed from the womb to be His Servant, and that His Service would be to redeem the world, that is, save sinners, and that His Light was to shine to the ends of the earth. Jesus would do this by becoming “one deeply despised.” That is, He would do His Service by dying on the cross most horrifically; then, rising most triumphantly to bring Life out of death.

            Formed from the Womb. That phrase made me think of a very early church father named Irenaeus. Irenaeus was a student of the student (Polycarp) of John the Apostle. He was that close to Jesus Christ in time! Irenaeus taught that Jesus is the Savior of All because Jesus has summed up all of human history by becoming a man, who lived every stage of life of the human. That means, Jesus began His redemption of humanity, all people, by becoming the tiniest of humans, a zygote. He was an embryo. He grew in the womb. He was born. Like us in every way except sin. The Bible also teaches us that Jesus experienced the temptations common to humankind, and He can sympathize with us in our weakness and fears, even those who in weakness and fear seek abortion.

            I wondered if Jesus in the womb was in danger. Then as now babies can be aborted. Of course, we know God was in charge of Jesus' conception and birth. But part of Jesus' story is something we might overlook. His earthly step-father Joseph, when he found out Mary was pregnant, he, being a righteous man decided to divorce her quietly. And before we all nod and say, “of course,” we should note that according to Old Testament law, if a woman was found to be adulterous she could have been executed (Deuteronomy 22:21). Mary was found to be with the Holy Child, but all Joseph knew was that it was not his. God had to speak to Him, to show the value of this Child. Yes, there was then and is now still the threat to babies in the womb. Jesus knew the threat and danger.

            Jesus has redeemed all life, including the unborn babies. All sins He carried to the cross for punishment. In Jesus, faith in Him, comes Life. And this is true for 

everyone. For those who have worked many years for the witness to Life, and those who supported death and have taken life. Irenaeus' teaching about Jesus summing up all of life helps us rejoice in what Jesus has done! God loves us, even when we were the tiniest of creatures. Even God became tiny. Let me conclude these brief remarks with one more connection to the founding of our country with another symbol you know well: The Liberty Bell. It was made before 1776, yet scholars think it was rung in the city of Philadelphia on July 8, 1776, to mark the first public reading of the Declaration of Independence.

            On the Liberty Bell is written these words from the Bible, Leviticus 25: 8“You shall count seven weeks of years, seven times seven years, so that the time of the seven weeks of years shall give you forty-nine years.you shall soundloud trumpet on the tenth day of the seventh month.the Day of Atonement you shall sound the trumpet throughout all your 

land.you shall consecrate the fiftieth year, andliberty throughout the land to all its inhabitants.

Did you hear? 49 years. That's how many years Roe v Wade lasted. It was evil and unjust, and now it is overturned. This is the 50th year. It starts today! We are consecrating this day by being here to celebrate the liberty from an unjust federal law, and we will continue to work for just laws, and to proclaim Liberty and Life here in Milwaukee, and throughout the land to all inhabitants. Liberty and Life in Jesus.

Eyewitness for Life is needed. Thank you. We thank our Lord through you. Continue to work and pray, and pray and work in the service of our Lord, The Great Servant who is Life itself. And He will continue to bless you.

Sonograms show us what is in the womb. Jesus started in the womb too. Jesus' light shines into the wombs, to see fellow little humans, our brothers and sisters, yes, His brothers and sisters, to bring them also to the Light of the World and Life. (see the connection in Psalm 139: 13,15 between the womb and “earth”.)

And, Jesus said in the Bible, in a preview of our standing before Him as the gracious and merciful Judge of His forgiven people who love Him, at the End of Time, and in response to all the love we show to others—and on this day we speak of helping mothers and their babies— “Come, youare blessed by my Father,the kingdomfor youthe foundation of the world....as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers/sisters…including the babies…you have done it to me.” (Matthew 25:40).

Let us sing the Doxology:

            Praise God from Whom all blessings flow;

            Praise Him all creatures here below;

            Praise Him above, ye heavenly host;

            Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.

Blessings in Jesus!

Pastor Engler

             


 

 

 

                                                                                                              

 

 

 

   

 

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