Today is the annual March for Life here in Washington, DC. For the 3rd time in a week, massive crowds will fill the National Mall. I’ll leave it to others with more time on their hands to debate which crowd is largest. I’m more interested in what these three gatherings say about our world and the role the church must play in it.
Jesus came as Light shining into the darkness of His day (John1:5). And then He told His followers to do the same (Matthew 5:16). We can only fulfill the command of Ephesians 5:8, “for at one time you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light” by being robustly for life. But, for me, that’s not a political statement; it’s a gospel statement. All humans are made in the image of God and given a soul by their Creator.
A gospel shaped for life worldview is desperately needed and astonishingly rare in our culture. It’s marked by at least three characteristics:
- Not Selective. Our world desperately needs the church to advocate a for life position that speaks for the unborn, for women, for minorities, for refugees, for the elderly, for the poor, and for the disabled with equal passion and vigor. Our politics tell us we must pick between women and the unborn. Jesus shows a radical love and affirmation of both. All too often, we cherry pick an issue or two that generates political heat or social media sensationalism without seeing that our inconsistency undermines our best intentions. If you stand for the unborn, you must stand for the refugee. The gospel reaches across political lines to be a beacon for justice and righteousness in our world.
- Motivated By Grace. Yes, we need to have the moral courage to say abortion is wrong. But we need to do it in a way that people who have chosen that path still feel welcome in our churches this Sunday. Jesus didn’t come to shame bad people. He came to give life to spiritually dead people. Jesus has as much grace and mercy for those who have chosen abortion as He does for their children. Don’t ever forget, we represent a God who endured the murder of His Son so He could forgive those who have terminated theirs. Our message is one of grace, of love, of forgiveness. It’s a pro life orientation that melts stone hearts and revives crushed spirits. We aren’t angry. We’re agents of grace.
- Personal Engagement. I have little patience for people whose social media engagement never translates into anything useful in the real world. Tweet, post, comment, like and share as much as you want. But then go do something. That’s why we partner with the Capitol Hill Pregnancy Center and Casa Chirilagua at Restoration City. We stand where Jesus would be – with the hurting, the marginalized, the afraid, and the broken. Those are the places where grace does it’s deepest work and those should be the places where it’s most likely to find followers of Jesus.
In writing about Jesus, John says, “In Him was life, and the life was the light of men.” (Jn. 1:4) My prayer is that His church would carry that light well. Our world needs it and it’s what we were made to do.