Sunday, October 25, 2015

From 40 Days For Life: DAY 33: Responding to hatred

40 Days for Life
Dear Deacon John,
For some people, a peaceful vigil at an abortion facility can generate anger.
Abortion hurts the soul and impacts the heart at the deepest level. Knowing and respecting that reality, we should expect some persecution.
“Blessed are you when they insult you and persecute you and utter every kind of evil against you [falsely] because of me,” Jesus told us (Matthew 5:11).
The angry people may unload curses ... and even throw cupcakes (true!). They dont care that children may hear them.
But there is only one way to respond. It's the way two local 40 Days for Life campaigns responded recently – in a Christ-like fashion.
This is the true spirit of 40 Days for Life!
Manchester, New Hampshire
“The God you pray to doesn’t exist!” shouted a woman from her car to Beth and Hannah who were holding their “pray to end abortion” signs.
“Thank you for looking at our signs,” Beth replied. “(Curse) you. Have a nice day,” she shouted back as she sped away.
It’s a bit odd that someone who is so sure there is no God would be so angry in asserting it ... it’s also interesting that her assertion that God doesn’t exist settled the whole argument about abortion for her.
An atheist could make a strong case against abortion. Science tells us life begins at conception, and anyone who looks at an ultrasound can see there’s a baby in the womb ...
Our vigils do more than send a message of love for the unborn and hope for the mothers.
Through the grace of Christ, we testify that everyone – the children in the womb, the mothers who carry them, the boyfriends who come to the clinic, the Planned Parenthood workers, the drivers who honk and wave, the strung-out addicts, and the woman tossing F-bombs from the car – are all created in God’s image, and their lives have meaning and purpose. There’s no reason we shouldn’t have a nice day.
From Stephen Scaer of the 40 Days for Life leadership team in Manchester.
St. Louis, Missouri
There are many who would be surprised by the amount of supportive responses our sidewalk counselors and prayer volunteers receive from those driving by. We see as many if not more positive honks and thumbs-up signs, mouthed “thank yous” and friendly waves, as we do angered shouts or middle fingers.

However, a few of our interns and volunteers were met with the hateful shouts of a few young women who drove by, throwing a cupcake out the window towards our 40 Days for Life sign as they passed.

Though the cupcake hit our sign, the hatred and anger of these young women did not hit the hearts of our staff and volunteers, who reacted with only absolute humility and love …

And so, like the fearless men and women who stood on the sidewalk today and received hurtful words with kind smiles and humble prayer, we too seek to bring hope where there is despair, joy where there is sadness, and compassion where there is woundedness. 

Please join me in prayer on the sidewalk as we bear the light of Christ to the darkest parts of our community. 
From Brian Westbrook, the 40 Days for Life director in St. Louis.

Here’s today’s devotional from Fr. Terry Gensemer, National Director of the Charismatic Episcopal Church for Life.
Day 33 intention 
May we absorb the truth that God is paying attention to us, and to each human life, personally and individually.
When I consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers, the moon and the stars, which You have ordained, what is man that You are mindful of him, and the son of man that You visit him? For You have made him a little lower than the angels, and You have crowned him with glory and honor.
— Psalm 8:3-9
How often we ignore the phrase, “stop and smell the roses” and instead submit to the all-too-urgent task at hand. Is this tendency what keeps us, at least in part, from acknowledging that God’s care for His sacred creation is paramount in His own mind?
The Psalmist speaks of God’s handiwork: the heavens, the work of his “fingers,” and then points to God’s masterpiece – human life. He declares to us that God is mindful of us. God keeps His masterpiece in His thoughts.
God, the creator of the awe-inspiring heavens, is not distracted by the tasks before Him. He is not pulled away, as we might be, by thoughts of something “more important.”
God is paying attention to and attending to His crowning glory, His masterpiece of creation, which cannot be duplicated or replaced, which surpasses the beauty of all other created things – the human being.
There is no way to adequately describe how God feels about us as human beings. There are no words to fully portray His love, compassion or desire to be in communion with us.
Perhaps, the closest we can come, is to contemplate the thoughts of a mother as she gazes for the first time at her newborn child. God cares for Life.
We, as His followers, should take time to consider the life He has created and called upon us to love and protect.
Lord, you are the creator of all things. Guide my thoughts to consider your creation in all of its majesty, beauty and holiness. Guide my heart especially to your creation of precious human life.
Help me to comprehend how essential life is in your own heart. Teach me to appreciate, love and protect all human life through your son, Jesus Christ our Lord, Amen.
Printable devotional 
To download today’s devotional as a formatted, printable PDF to share with friends:
For life,
 Shawn Carney
Campaign Director
40 Days for Life