Many churches throughout the world use a Bible reading schedule called a "lectionary." It's just a fancy word meaning "selected readings." Posts like this reflect on the readings for an upcoming Sunday or other Church holiday, as found in the historic one-year lectionary.
There's a debate raging in the United States these days, as advocates for abortion on demand find their support waning, but have managed to grasp some measure of federal political control. Meanwhile, a recent decision by the Roman Catholic Council of Bishops has started the process of an official articulation of several central Christian doctrines, among them the sanctity of life, and a consideration of how to deal with public figures who claim to be Roman Catholic but deny central tenets of the Church. It has all the appearance of a huge conflagration, as the Roman Catholic Church asserts its historic views and many cultural Catholics who have long ignored those doctrines and practices are likely to be called to account.
It's all about life. Protecting the unborn is so very important because, after all, if they never have the opportunity to be born they will never be able to live a life which brings honor and delight to God and to the rest of the world. We are pledged to protect those who cannot protect themselves. Unborn children are the most vulnerable population there is.
Do they have "true personhood"? That in itself is a poorly defined concept, but we'll take it at face value for now. The assessment of Elizabeth and Mary at the visitation, as recorded in Luke 1:39-56, is that both the unborn John the Baptist, probably at about 24 weeks' gestation, and the unborn Jesus, probably at about 12 weeks' gestation, somehow recognize one another's presence, rejoice themselves, and bring delight to their mothers.
They are people. They are certainly very small people. John might have lungs that are mature enough to function, but Jesus doesn't. They both have beating hearts. They have DNA that is their own, not their mothers'. They respond to different stimuli. They wake and sleep. They move. They are growing.
What is it going to take for those voices in our culture, increasingly a culture of death, to admit that the unborn deserve protection, that they rightly receive the full scope of human rights?
Thankfully, opinion is moving in the direction of those small children. Approximately 50% of Americans consider themselves "pro life" but upwards of 85% think that abortion is not acceptable in just any and every situation.
We need to keep talking about these little children. The same practice that has snuffed out the lives of over 65 million Americans, legally, since 1973, has almost certainly ended the lives of scientists, artists, creative geniuses, beloved children, and beloved parents. Who knows how many prophets of God have been killed in this way?
Lord, have mercy. Bring us face to face with the joy of real, live children. Let us see, as did Mary, that God has done great things by bringing children into this world.
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