Saturday, February 24, 2018

Day 11: Cooperatio in Externis

“It is my prayer that your love may abound more and more,
with knowledge and all discernment.”
(Philippians 1:9)

Faithful preachers carefully avoid unionism
        that the Truth not be compromised.
With equal zeal, they seek opportunities for cooperation
        that the Truth not be confined.

From establishing crisis pregnancy centers,
        to participation in the National March for Life,
                advocacy for the lives of others often requires us to work with those of other faiths.
Discerning faithful cooperation from unfaithful communion
        can mean the difference between helping a neighbor in need
                or denying help to the dying.
Thanks be to God that the Church has been blessed with a most clear and useful distinction. The distinction between communion in sacred things and cooperation in external things (Communio in sacris, cooperatio in externis) has been in the Church for many centuries and has guided Lutherans since the days of Martin Luther.

Let us diligently study this distinction and make proper use of it. Not only will it keep us both engaged in the world, and faithful to Christ, it will also enable us to teach the truth to many who join us in the advocacy for life.

O God, from whom all good things do come: grant to us, Thy humble servants; that by Thy holy inspiration we may think those things that be right and by Thy merciful guiding may perform the same, through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.

Friday, February 23, 2018

Day 10: Perinatal Hospice - Friday

Question for Friday:
After Jesus was condemned to die, did His life become worth less?

Medicine's abilities to diagnose life-threatening birth defects
        vastly outstrips its competence to treat them.
Imagine the anguish of learning
        that the child you are carrying may well die within hours of birth.

Most parents are counseled to abort;
        and in one study, 87 of 112 such children were indeed aborted.

Jesus, who Created these children, has far better counsel;
        and you are privileged to speak it.

Choosing Thomas (about Trisomy 13) and
Jaxton's Story - A Trisomy 18 Battle
        help us understand these challenges.

You can directly support such brave and blessed parents
        by organizing for Perinatal Hospice support in your own local hospital.

Almighty and everlasting God, you give and you take away according to your wisdom and grace.  We thank you for all the mercies granted to Your child, during his short life on earth and for taking him to yourself. According to your gracious will, comfort those who mourn with the assurance that through the power of Holy Baptism this beloved child was delivered from sin and has been received among the saints in glory. Keep all of us in your grace so that when our last hour comes we may depart in peace; through Jesus Christ, our Lord.

Thursday, February 22, 2018

Day 9: Miscarriage

"For you formed my inward parts;
you knitted me together in my mother's womb."
(Psalm 139:13)

"Out of sight, out of mind," numbs us to the gravity of abortion.
    Sadly, this same dynamic leaves many to bear the grief of miscarriage alone and in silence.

While the LSB Agenda provides a wealth of materials for miscarriage (pp. 132-139),
    they often go unused because grieving parents do not know to ask.

Christian burial is appropriate even for the smallest of Christ's redeemed.
Find ways to teach this to your whole congregation. It will help them in three ways:
    1) Couples already grieving in silence
         will be given opportunity to open up and address their grief.
    2) Ministry for future miscarriages
        will be more readily sought and received.
    3) God's people
        will become more mindful of His hidden workings from the moment of conception.

Let us pray: Heavenly Father, Your Son bore all our grief and carried all our sorrows. Strengthen the faith of these grieving parents and all who bear this heavy burden. Help them to rely on Your boundless mercy and to trust that their little one, who has been gathered into Your loving arms, will rise on the Last Day; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord. (LSB 553)

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Day 8: Adoption and Fostering

"You have received the Spirit of adoption as sons,
by Whom we cry, 'Abba, Father'..." (Romans 8:15)
As the joy and the cross of conception is experienced as a human work
        and yet, on a truer level is a divine gift.
Even more so is the joy and cross of adoption.

Parents who adopt must declare their intent
        repeatedly, deliberately and at great personal expense.

In this, they become icons of God the Father who has likewise adopted us. 
  • If you have ever considered adoption or fostering, blessed are you. Your sacrifices encourage all of us.
  • If you are not in a position to adopt, but wish to encourage those who are, consider financial support (adoptions are expensive) also encourage and pray for them in their holy calling.
Let Us Pray: Merciful Father, because of your great love revealed in Christ, you called us to the household of faith in your Son Jesus, our Savior, and chose us to be your own dear children. Grant your grace to all who have adopted children that, finding in them a special blessing, they may nurture them as your chosen ones; through Jesus Christ, our Lord.

Excellent Resource: Adopted for Life

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Day 7: Encouraging Motherhood

"In pain you shall bring forth children..." (Genesis 3:16)
"a sword will pierce through your own soul also..." (Luke 2:35)
Like all God-given vocations,
        childbearing comes attendant with the holy and salutary cross.

The world sneers, "We know what causes this," and counsels avoidance.
        In point of fact, we have no idea why some, and not others (cur alii, alii non?)

We only know the call of Christ.
        "Take up your cross and follow Me." (Matthew 16:24)

When you encourage parents in the challenges of childbearing,
        you speak for Christ against the world.

Given the attitude of the world,
        yours may be the only encouragement they hear. 
Implore the Father:
To grant all women with child, and all mothers with infant children,
        increasing happiness in their blessings;
To defend all orphans and widows and provide for them.
To strengthen and keep all sick persons and young children; to free those in bondage; and
To have mercy on us all:
             We implore You to hear us, Good Lord. (The Litany, LSB 289)


Monday, February 19, 2018

Day 6: Marriage, Life, and Family

“Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife,
and the two shall become one flesh.” (Genesis 2:24)

Marriage, Life, and Family are a holy and inseparable trinity.
        To attack one is to attack all.

It is no coincidence that the legalization of abortion
        and the first no-fault divorce laws
                happened simultaneously.

Nor is it surprising that 7 of 8 abortions occur outside of marriage.
        The sanctity of human life is the sanctity of marriage.
                It is God's own holiness.

O God, who has created man and woman and has ordained them for the married estate, has blessed them also with fruits of the womb, and has typified therein the sacramental union of Your dear Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, and the church, His bride: We beseech Your unfathomable goodness and mercy that You would not permit this Your creation, ordinance, and blessing to be disturbed or destroyed, but graciously preserve the same; through Jesus Christ our Lord. (Martin Luther)

Sunday, February 18, 2018

Day 5: Gift Conceived - Invocavit

When man and wife in love conceive,
They have, O Lord, from You received
A holy gift beyond compare:
A child placed within their care.

To conceive is to receive.

What is received is a gift of God.

The gift is not an object. It is a calling.

To care for a child, is to participate in the life of God.

This week lists some concrete ways to support this holy calling.
Heavenly Father, you sent your own Son into this world as the child of Mary and Joseph. We thank you for the life of this child, entrusted to our care. Help us to remember that we are all your children and so love and nurture him/her that he/she may attain to that full stature intended for him/her in your eternal kingdom; for the sake of Jesus Christ, your Son, our Lord. (127)

Saturday, February 17, 2018

Day 4: Who Broke the Baby?

“For there is no truth in their mouth; their inmost self is destruction;
their throat is an open grave; they flatter with their tongue.” (Psalm 5:9)

Jean Staker Garton, an LCMS speaker and author, began speaking out for the unborn already several years before abortion was legalized. She is a co-founder and president of Lutherans for Life.

Her classic book, Who Broke the Baby? What the Abortion Slogans Really Mean, is still unmatched and remains a must-read resource after 39 years. In it she unmasks the assumptions and assertions behind the emotional rhetoric of the abortion movement. Slogan by slogan Mrs. Garton supplies ready answers to the empty words which are still at the heart of the abortion movement.
Mrs. Garton fell asleep in Jesus in just before Christmas in 2016. “Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on.” “Blessed indeed,” says the Spirit, “that they may rest from their labors, for their deeds follow them!” (Revelation 14:13).
May God root out all heresy
And of false teachers rid us
Who proudly say: "Now, where is he
That shall our speech forbid us?
By right or might we shall prevail;
What we determine cannot fail;
We own no lord and master."

       (Martin Luther, TLH 260.3)


Friday, February 16, 2018

Day 3: Incomprehensible

“Evils have encompassed me beyond number; my iniquities have overtaken me, and I cannot see; they are more than the hairs of my head; my heart fails me. Be pleased, O Lord, to deliver me! O Lord, make haste to help me! " (Psalm 40:12-13)
How does one comprehend the loss of 60,000,000 Americans in 44 years?
After a certain point, a zero is just another zero.
But these people are not ciphers. They are not statistics.
They are people for whom Christ has died.
Nor are they the sins of others only.

There are innumerable sins of omission as well as commission. 

Here are a few attempts at gaining perspective...
  • Perhaps the highest casualty rate of World War II was on Tarawa. 79 Marines died each hour of the 76-hour battle. We have lost 159 Americans each hour - for the past 384,750 hours.
  • On September 11, 2001 2,996 people were killed in a single day of terrorism. Abortion kills 3,655 people every day - and has for the past 16,436 days.
  • In an average month 205,700 Americans die, each having celebrated an average of 78 birthdays. In that same month 100,284 Americans are killed - before their birthday ever comes.
  • World War II killed 156,314 American soldiers per year for almost three years. Abortion kills 1,335,310 per year (more than 8 times more) - nonstop for 45 years running.
  • The dropout rate for the class of 2013 was 7.4%. Meaning 296,000 kids were not given a diploma. In 1992, 1,359,145 abortions were reported. Meaning over 25% of the class of 2013 were not given their first breath.
O God, whose martyred innocents showed forth Thy praise not by speaking but by dying, mortify all vices within us that our lives may in deed confess Thy faith which our tongue uttereth; through Jesus Christ, through Jesus Christ, our Lord. (Holy Innocents)

Here is a video from Oregon Right to Life that attempts to visualize what these years have done to America.

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Day 2: First Things

"Forty years long was I grieved with this generation, and said, It is a people that do err in their heart, and they have not known my ways:" (Psalm 95:10)
The earliest non-canonical Christian document we have puts the issues of faith, chastity and the sanctity of human life at the very foundation of Christian teaching (The Didache)

• "There are two ways, one of life and one of death, and there is a great difference between the two ways. The way of life is this. First of all, thou shalt love the God that made thee...(1:1-3)
• "And this is the second commandment of the teaching. Thou shalt do no murder, thou shalt not commit adultery, thou shalt not corrupt boys, thou shalt not commit fornication, {thou shalt not steal,} thou shalt not deal in magic, thou shalt do no sorcery, thou shalt not murder a child by abortion nor kill them when born. (2:1-2)

O God, from whom all good things do come: grant to us, Thy humble servants; that by Thy holy inspiration we may think those things that be right and by Thy merciful guiding may perform the same, through Jesus Christ, through Jesus Christ, our Lord. (Rogate)

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Day 1: Consider the Poor

“Blessed is he who considers the poor…" (Psalm 41:1)

Love for those far off begins at home. Of this, Satan is keenly aware. His favorite tool for hindering our love for the unseen and unheard is to stir up strife among those who would speak in their defense.

To encourage one another, is not to criticize motives or methods. Vocation is a calling from God, not from man. We honor God by honoring the manifold ways that he may call us to serve in the vineyard.

There is only one calling that is universal, the call to consider the poor. All else flows from this. God calls His people to set their minds on particular people -- poor in the eyes of the world -- and to think about their plight in concrete, human terms.

When we thus consider the poor, God goes to work. He replaces the world’s confusion with clarity and truth. He cuts through inhuman abstractions with particular people. To concretely consider the poor is to benefit from these gifts, first of all.

But there is more, the more you consider the vast and various needs of your neighbor, the more you are turned to Christ Jesus as the only help in time of need. Your neighbor comes into focus, your prayers are sharpened, and your unique calling is clarified.

Then comes the most blessed gift of all. You see ever more clearly that Jesus is the Truly Blessed One, and you are truly the poorest. “Blessed it He who considers the poor,” means that Jesus considers you.