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Matthew
5:17-26
 
"Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. For truly, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the Law until all is accomplished. Therefore whoever relaxes one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever does them and teaches them will be called great in the kingdom of heaven. For I tell you, unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.

"You have heard that it was said to those of old, 'You shall not murder; and whoever murders will be liable to judgment.' But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother will be liable to judgment; whoever insults his brother will be liable to the council; and whoever says, 'You fool!' will be liable to the hell of fire. So if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar and go. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift. Come to terms quickly with your accuser while you are going with him to court, lest your accuser hand you over to the judge, and the judge to the guard, and you be put in prison. Truly, I say to you, you will never get out until you have paid the last penny."(ESV)
Speak for Those Who Cannot
Friday of Pentecost 11
14 August 2015
In a great article titled, 'I Don't Know if I'm Pro-Choice After Planned Parenthood Videos" making the rounds on electronic media, Ruben Navarrette Jr. reported that he is rethinking his long time support of abortion on demand. It is a thoughtful piece, which you would do well to read. It gives us a glimpse of the moral underpinnings of people who were supporters of untrammeled freedom to kill unborn children. I am delighted to see that people with Navarrette's presuppositions are beginning to rethink their support for the abortion industry in this country. In the past, Navarrette always felt constrained to support abortion, because he is a man. In other words, he felt that he had no stake in the abortion discussion. Because he was unlikely to become pregnant "he had no dog in this hunt."
 
What ethic refuses to take a stand about abortion, because you're a man and not a woman? Are there really no other possible arguments against abortion than the one that says it doesn't touch me because I don't have a womb? Am I really unaffected by that which is being perpetrated around me? This sadly solipsistic ethic works until the killers come for me. Who will then speak for me? Who will then defend me against unrighteous death? Am I not responsible over against my family, my community, and my nation? Of course I am. Who would say otherwise? This is what it means to be human; to define ourselves over against the other; to be responsible to and for the other humans. Navarrette, like others, is awakening to the fact that hiding behind sexual reality, by making the claim I am a man and therefore am not responsible for what happens in the lives of other people, is a total capitulation of human moral responsibility, a complete surrender of what used to be called common human decency. Unfortunately such human decency has become uncommon and needs to be defended again in this generation.
 
So while, for yourself, you may be ambivalent about abortion, you may not be ambivalent about the crying needs of those who are around you. You must recognize that this slaughter has had corrosive effects on our culture and society, causing the death of some 55 million children and counting since abortion was declared to be legal by the Supreme Court of the United States in 1973. Perhaps 1973 was the high water mark of the solipsistic ethic which ignores the effect abortion has on others, including women and children. Navarrette is no longer convinced that if it doesn't affect him directly abortion has no impact on him. What a wonderfully clarifying realization this is; all caused by the explicit videos of the trade in infant body parts being perpetrated by Planned Parenthood. No, in a truly human ethic we're all in this together. Let's defend those who cannot speak for themselves and pray that when we cannot speak we will be defended.

 

Martin Luther

"You ask whether a Christian too may bear the temporal sword and punish the wicked, since Christ's words, 'Do not resist evil' (Mt 5:39), are so clear and definite sophists have had to make of them a 'counsel.' Answer: You have now heard two propositions. One is that the sword can have no place among Christians; therefore, you cannot bear it among Christians or hold it over them, for they do not need it. The question, therefore, must be referred to the other group, the non-Christians, whether you may bear it there in a Christian manner. Here the other proposition applies, that you are under obligation to serve and assist the sword by whatever means you can, with body, goods, honor, and soul. For it is something which you do not need, but which is very beneficial and essential for the whole world and for your neighbor."

Martin Luther, Temporal Authority: to What Extent It Should Be Obeyed, 1
 
Prayer
Lord God, from depths of woe we cry to you! Hear our supplication for those who cannot speak for themselves. Give us the courage of truly human morals in which we seek the good of all other persons and are willing to put our lives on the line for them. Turn the hearts of those whose self-centered perspective concurs in the death of others. Bring them to repentance that we might make common cause with them in defending the unborn. Amen.
 
For President Jimmy Carter, that the proper therapies would be applied to him and that he might recover fully from cancer
 
For rain, that Texas might be watered as a sign of God's gracious care for all persons
 
For Paul Lodholz, that his blood counts would improve and that he would be enabled to resume his therapy
Art: Dürer, Albrecht  The Adoration of the Trinity (1515) 

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