Carrying the Banner that All Life Is Sacred
Continuing the conversation about God’s view of life.
The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod joined in — but did not blend in with — the March for Life on Jan. 27. Lime-green hats marked the Lutherans as a cohesive group. But more than the hats, it was the eyes that attracted the attention of marchers and TV cameras.
Fifteen feet wide and three feet tall, a pair of eyes held aloft by Lutherans bobbed and weaved its way down Constitution Avenue in Washington, D.C. The same eyes were carried through downtown Chicago days earlier. Those same eyes, though smaller, have been seen on eyesoflife.org and on Facebook.
A Campaign for Life
Many campaigns exist to oppose ideas or issues in our society, but the Synod’s “Eyes of Life” campaign is a dynamic conversation about life from God’s point of view.
The conversations are not always easy. The stories are real; people are hurt and broken. But in all of the stories, in all of the situations, life is the gift of a loving God who sent His Son to die and to rise as life and light.
In a world bent down under the weight of death, “Eyes of Life” is a conversation about life — from conception to natural death.
“Eyes of Life” was publicly launched at the 2016 LCMS Youth Gathering in New Orleans in July. Singer Erin Bode sang “Right from the Beginning” — the song she wrote for “Eyes of Life” — in front of more than 22,000 LCMS youth and adults. The youth were encouraged to share their stories of life on social media using #eyesoflife.
Encouraging the Next Generation
But in all of the stories, in all of the situations, life is the gift of a loving God who sent His Son to die and to rise as life and light.
The young people of the church continued to voice their vision at the LCMS Life Conference, held Jan. 27–29. “LCMS Life Ministry was pleased to be able to offer support to high school and college students so they could attend the march and the conference,” said the Rev. Bart Day, executive director of the LCMS Office of National Mission.
Two groups benefited from financial assistance: Concordia University Chicago, River Forest, Ill., and St. Paul Lutheran High School, Concordia, Mo.
“Their presence and voice is crucial in the ongoing battle for life,” Day said. “We pray the entire experience, especially the content of the conference, will help them stand strong in their communities.”
Day’s hopes were realized in those who benefited from the financial support. “I want to extend a huge thank you to the LCMS for giving my Teens for Life group at my school, St. Paul Lutheran in Concordia, [Mo.,] a donation to help fund our trip to D.C.,” said Bethany Gillet, a student at the school. “Not only has it been the best trip of my life, but also an amazing opportunity to share my faith with people who watch what we do and to be in unity with hundreds of thousands knowing we are marching for the same reason.”
“The best part about the March for Life was seeing how many other young people share the same passionate beliefs I do,” said Shannon Peters, another student at St. Paul. “I know I’m not alone anymore, and I feel like I really can make a difference in the movement for life. I am so thankful for the LCMS and other donors who made this experience possible for my classmates and me.”
Since the launch of “Eyes of Life,” people have read the stories and shared their own on the website and through social media. The website has grown, and it now includes additional stories and a downloadable Bible study.
“Eyes of Life” was intended to culminate in the 2017 March for Life. This vision reached fulfillment as Lutherans marched, carried signs and sang hymns about the author of life — teaching the world to see with a positive voice.
“The March for Life and LCMS Life Conference were an incredible experience for me personally and for our group as a whole,” noted Jenny Minor, a member of St. Paul’s Lutheran Church, Montgomery, Ala., who came as a chaperone with the group from Concordia, Mo. “It was so uplifting to join in song with our fellow Lutherans as we marched peacefully and boldly in support of life. Everyone in our group was inspired and humbled to be in a crowd of so many people who all support our same belief in the sanctity of life at all stages.”
Though the March for Life has come and gone, the conversation continues. There are more stories to share, more people to encourage. The world needs to learn to see with eyes of life. And so it goes on, all in God’s time, all in God’s hands.
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