by Christina Faucett, Program Administrator, Sidewalk Advocates for Life
Verse(s): “After this, the Lord appointed 72 others and sent them on ahead of him, two by two, into every town and place where he himself was about to go. And he said to them, ‘The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few. Therefore, pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.'”
– Luke 10:1-2
Reflection: It seems odd to think that God needs us for anything. He is God, after all. He can do all things. He made us, and to Him, we are like the dust of the earth or the clay in His hands. Without Him we could not live. And yet, that is what he says to us over and over again: “I need you. I need you to come forward, choose me, step out in faith.” God can do great things in us and through us, but He wants us to participate. As Paul says in Ephesians, “For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”
Jesus points to that reality here: A harvest is waiting to be reaped – but where are the workers? Without workers in a farmer’s field, the grapes rot on the vine, the grain molds in the field. And without workers in the spiritual field souls perish in the darkness. God has planted many seeds in the hearts of those all around us: Will we reap what He has sown? Or will we remain blind to the harvest all around us, focusing only on our own measly patch of dirt?
Faith Challenge: Will you do the good works God has created you to do? Will you do it even if the work means standing in the rain tirelessly, day after day, fingers numb, and legs sore? If you are willing to take on this tedious work, Jesus has a promise for you – with His help, you will reap the rewards! The reward is the Bread of Life.
by Christina Faucett, Program Administrator, Sidewalk Advocates for Life
Verses: “In the sixth month, the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. And the virgin’s name was Mary. And he came to her and said, “Greetings, O favored one, the Lord is with you!” But she was greatly troubled at the saying and tried to discern what sort of greeting this might be. And the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. And the Lord God will give to him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.” – Luke 1:26-33
Reflection: The world was saved by an unplanned pregnancy. I know it’s a bit cliché, but this is the season for remembering those things we have heard a hundred times before. We should remember how messy it was: an unwed mother, a father who wasn’t really the baby’s father – whom everyone must have considered either a sinner or a fool – a birth in a stable surrounded by animals and strangers, fleeing to a foreign country in terror in the middle of the night. It’s not the way any of us would choose to start a family, but it’s the way God choose to bring us into His.
It wasn’t really unplanned, of course. It had been planned from before the beginning of the world. It was foretold in the Garden of Eden: “[H]e will crush your head, and you will strike his heel,” (Genesis 3:15). But to everyone but God it must have been surprising. In the words of one of my favorite Christmas songs: Such a strange way to save the world.
The birth of Christ turned the world upside down, starting with the lives of two ordinary small-town people. Two people willing to have their lives upended for the sake of a baby they were told would save his people from their sins.
For most women, the news that they are going to have a child isn’t brought by angels. For many, the news isn’t joy-bringing, but fear-instilling. Their life is about to change dramatically. No one is going to tell the man they love in a dream that he shouldn’t abandon them. No one is bringing gold to the birthing suite to pay the hospital bill. They may feel just as alone and scared as Mary must have felt in a strange town with no family and friends to support her. But the same truth the angel told Mary is true for all women: The Lord is with you. God may have made the lives of the Holy Family more chaotic than they planned, but He also provided for them every step of the way. He used everyone from poor shepherds to rich kings to do it.
Faith Challenge: We may be neither kings nor shepherds. No angelic choir or strange star may guide our path, but we can still heed the voice of the Lord when He calls us to help the single mother, to encourage the poor father, to take in the stranger, or simply to come and marvel at the newborn baby. Life isn’t always predictable; things don’t always go the way we planned. But God is always there, whether in the form of an angelic message, or a simple manger in which to rest our head.
By Jeff Reedy, Store Manager, Sidewalk Advocates for Life
Verse(s): “Do not be surprised, my brothers and sisters, if the world hates you. We know that we have passed from death to life, because we love each other. Anyone who does not love remains in death. Anyone who hates a brother or sister is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life residing in him. This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters.”
– 1 John 3:13-16
Reflection: John tells us not to be surprised when the world hates us.
He got this from Jesus, of course, who said the same thing in John 15:18. And it’s true today just as it was at the time he wrote it.
The world especially hates when we point out what it right and wrong. Which is sad because we point out these things, not to make them feel bad (or, at least, that shouldn’t be our motivation) or to make ourselves look better, but in order to help people to live good, full, vibrant, abundant lives. But they don’t want to hear it, partially because it means they have to change and admit they’re wrong — two things people hate doing. But partially because they have been lied to by the “spirits of the age” against whom we are truly fighting.
So, keep this in mind: Don’t be surprised when the world hates you. It’s GOING to. We KNOW it will. Be prepared for it. Go in knowing that it will happen.
And love them anyway. You never know whose soul will be saved because you were prepared to love them anyway.
Faith Challenge: Pray for all those who hate us and the pro-life movement. They are hurting. Know this His love is enough to win them from hate to healing, peace, and love.
by Jeff Grabosky, National LIFE Runners Team
(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.
Faith Challenge: Pray for all those who didn’t choose life or abortion workers, knowing Christ’s grace and abundant healing is available to anyone who asks for it.
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.
Faith Challenge: Let us pray: “God, thank You for making it clear that You want us to be one. Please help us work to that end in all that we do for the good of LIFE and your Holy Name. AMEN.”