(originally appeared at liferunners.org)
Verse(s): “For the Son of Man has come to seek and save what was lost.” – Luke 19:10
Reflection: Zacchaeus was a wealthy tax collector, a person rejected by the people due to the nature of his business. Jesus seeks out Zacchaeus as well as all sinners and the lost. There are times in my life when I was counted among the lost. We can take confidence in knowing Jesus is always seeking us out and all we have to do is open our hearts to Him. We are called to be Jesus to others, and in the same way He reached out to us, we should reach out to those who may be lost. We should especially reach out in any way we can to those who may be considering an abortion and to post-abortion women. In doing so, we allow Jesus to work through us in bringing the lost back to Him.
by Jeff Reedy, Store Manager, Sidewalk Advocates
Verse(s): “Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and strangers, but fellow citizens with God’s people and also members of his household, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone. In Him, the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord. And in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit.”
– Eph 2:19-22
Reflection: In Ephesians 2:1-22, Paul tells us that God has made us one, taking Jews and Gentiles and erasing the walls that separated us, making us one body in Christ.
But we know that the enemy wants to split us up; we even see evidence of this even in the pro-life movement. We’re not, at times, one body — there are deep wounds in the body of Christ because we often refuse to find ways to work in unity. If we read the prayer that Jesus prayed for ME AND YOU specifically, we know that it was His intent (and still is His intent) for us to be one, as He and the Father are One.
So let’s work tirelessly to heal those wounds. Let’s reach out to our brothers and sisters in Jesus, no matter what their background or denomination might be, and help bring us all back together again. Let’s pray that those wounds will be healed, and that we’ll find a way to love one another once more — and to be truly ONE, as He and the Father are One.
by Jeff Reedy, National Program Assistant, Sidewalk Advocates for Life
Verse(s): “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. …Love never fails. …And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.”
– 1 Cor 13: 4-8a; 13
Reflection: Paul tells us something very important through this discourse about love, and something we need to heed in the midst of today’s crises.
Yes, there are lots of things to alarm us in the world around us: Sex abuse scandals in Hollywood or the Church …or your local abortion facility that has taken the lives of countless innocent children. As yet another example, they recently discovered a compound in New Mexico where ISIS was teaching children how to do mass shootings. (Crazy that didn’t make the news!) And YES, there should be moral outrage about these things, no doubt.
But we also have to remember the number one commandment and what Paul tells us. No matter how outraged we might become, if we don’t exhibit love — even towards those who have done these incredibly harmful things — we become nothing. No matter how horrible some action is that some person in authority has committed, we have to remember love.
Does love mean giving them a get out of jail free card? No, of course not. Sometimes love means locking them away for life to keep them from hurting other people and from destroying themselves. But let’s not give in to the desire to cry out for their blood — to want them to be tortured and killed. Let’s pray for their souls and hope and pray that they find God and turn from their lives of foolishness and pain.
That’s what love demands. And John DOES tell us that God is love. God demands that we love our enemies, pray for them, and care for them.
It’s not easy when you think of the horrible things they’ve done. It gets a lot easier, though, when we think of the horrible things WE’VE done — and how we’ve also been infinitely offensive to an infinitely good, holy, and loving God. It’s also a reminder that unless we are ready to forgive others for their offenses when they are truly sorry, we won’t get off so easy (cf. Matthew 18:21-35).
Once we have humbled ourselves to see what God has done for us, we can start to grasp the beauty and power of forgiveness, mercy, and grace.
Faith Challenge: Let us pray for all those who have been wounded by others’ sins. Then, let’s us pray for a conversion of heart for all sinners in need of the redemptive love of Jesus Christ.
by Jeff Reedy, National Program Assistant, Sidewalk Advocates for Life
Verse: “Jesus could not perform very many miracles there, except to lay hands on a few people and heal them. He was amazed at their lack of faith.” – Mark 6:5-6
Reflection: That’s not the way we want to amaze Jesus, right?
How often is He wanting to perform miracles in our lives or in our communities, but our lack of faith leaves Him unable to do much, amazed at how little we believe. Would it not be better for us to amaze Him as did the centurion, with his great faith?
God can do a great deal or not very much in our lives, depending on how much faith we put in Him. And it only takes a mustard seed to go a long way.
Faith Challenge: Let’s ask God how we can get out of the way, allow Him to work more freely in our lives, and how He can help our faith grow in the process.
by Lauren Muzyka, Executive Director, Sidewalk Advocates for Life
(originally published at liferunners.org)
Verse(s): “It was not you who chose me, but I who chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit that will remain, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name he may give you. This I command you: love one another.”
– John 15:16-17
Reflection: Many debate in the pro-life movement about the best tactic for ending abortion. Is it more political prowess? Media connections? The greatest advertising campaign — or even pooling the greatest amount of money or resources?
While these things can aid the battle for life, we must recognize that Jesus has already answered this question: It is LOVE. Love is what led Christ to the cross to redeem all sin and death, and Love raised Him from the dead. Love is what heals relationships, transforms broken hearts, and gives us the ability to persevere and do what’s right.
At the end of the day, the abortion decision rests with a mother — we recognize that she doesn’t have a moral right to take the life of her preborn child, but unfortunately, she does have the legal option to do so. Maybe the boyfriend left her, the family is pressuring her and she sees all of her future plans crumbling before her eyes; ironically, she may feel she has NO choice. The world keeps telling her that for $500, her biggest problem will be solved.
When we head out to the sidewalk to pray and love these mothers through faith-in-action, miracles can happen. In all of my time as a sidewalk counselor, I have never seen a mother change her mind because of a mere political or philosophical argument. But I can tell you about the countless number of times I’ve witnessed lives saved and hearts transformed because a peaceful person on the sidewalk was willing to pray and offer love and assistance without judgment to that mother-in-crisis.
We are called to bring His love and light out to the sidewalk, knowing that He can work miracles through us, if we let Him.