Let’s Talk Life4 min read

In the now classic movie from Hollywood’s Golden Era—Casablanca—there are many memorable lines of dialogue. One of these is when the character played by Humphrey Bogart says, “I stick my neck out for nobody!”  He tries to give the appearance that he does not really care about the terrible things going on around him, as the Nazis continue to invade country after country, and innocent people are being persecuted and put to death. But, of course, he does care and, in the end, he risks his own life and his own happiness to do what is right.

We live in such a time also, when there is such a threat to the lives of innocent people around us, that we simply cannot stand at the sidelines and say, “I stick my neck out for nobody.”  There is a terrible poison that has infiltrated much of our culture today and has twisted the perceptions of many people—and that is the poison of thinking that human life is cheap and easily expendable.

Nowhere is this more evident than in the abortion industry. It is hard to think of anyone more vulnerable and powerless than the tiny human baby in the mother’s womb. Defenseless, that new human being, created by God, depends on others for safety and nurture.  The scourge of abortion-on-demand makes this baby, fully human from any truly scientific point of view that is reasonable, into simply a “problem” or a “dilemma” that can be solved by terminating the life of the baby before they have the chance to fully develop and exit the womb.

Then we wonder why there is at the same time an increasing demand for the right to end the life of an older person who may be depressed, terminally ill, or seriously handicapped.

The culture of death has spread. Its roots lie deep and it has brought great pain and suffering to many.

You and I have been called out of the darkness and into the light of Christ. Jesus is the Lord of Life. The One who died for our sins and rose from the dead now comes to us and sustains us, not only with daily bread for this life, but with His own body and blood by which we are prepared for the life to come.

As we have received and continue to receive God’s good gifts by grace alone, so we are enabled to see our vocation as one in which we are called to be ambassadors of Jesus to others. Therefore, we cannot simply say, “I stick my neck out for nobody!”  Loving our neighbor means also standing firmly for what is true and right—and that includes issues of Life, marriage, and family, as guided by God’s own Word.

In our various congregations and communities, there are many ways to take a stand for Life, not only with words, but in various projects and ways to show God’s love and forgiveness to others. While one of the best ways we can support the cause of Life is through the support of our crisis pregnancy centers, we also can reach out with the love and forgiveness of Jesus to women (and men!) who have been suffering from the scars and the guilt of a past abortion.

Each of us may know someone who can be helped in some way. Perhaps it is taking food to someone who is having a difficult time with a pregnancy, or who has just had a baby. Perhaps it is offering free babysitting for the parents to have a night out. It may be serving the disabled in some way, or the Special Olympics, or helping to build a ramp for a family who has an older person in a wheelchair who cannot get around easily any longer, or visiting the elderly in a nursing home. All of these things reaffirm the value of human life at every age.

Jesus came to give us life and give it to us abundantly. In His Word and Sacrament we are given that which not only delivers us from the curse of death, but brings us into the new life of Christ. Baptized, we belong to Him. Led by the Spirit, we can find ways to serve others, and in so doing we show them that each person, no matter what age or condition, is valuable and loved by Christ, the Lord of Life.

But like Bogart in Casablanca, we must stand up to evil. There are no sidelines when it comes to Life issues. Abortion is the clear breaking the fifth commandment—for it is the murder of a human being, of a baby girl or boy.  So, dear people in Christ JesusLet’s stick our neck out, and not be afraid, as we speak for those who cannot speak, and show God’s love to those who so desperately need it.

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About the Author

Rev. Paul Clark has been the pastor of St. Paul, Fowler for over 30 years. He serves as President of Lutherans for Life of Michigan, as well as the Pastoral Counselor. He serves also as the District Life Coordinator for the Michigan District – LCMS. Rev. Clark and his wife Elizabeth have three children through the blessing of adoption.

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