In 1984 then President Reagan wrote an order proclaiming the 22nd of January (or the nearest Sunday to that date) to be Sanctity of Life Sunday. The particular date was chosen as it corresponds to the anniversary of the Roe v Wade decision.
Typically in Christian circles this day focused on the unborn. In my earlier years I participated in some of the peaceable demonstrations of advocating for life for every human, whether inside or outside the womb. In more recent years I have come to see that sanctity (the holiness, sacredness) of life goes far beyond the birth process.
I share the following ideas, not to promote Jerry and me, but to prod your thinking in how you could be a standard bearer of the sanctity of life.
We have shared our home with many who were in need of a place to live, and perhaps more a home and family. Some stayed with us a short time, others longer term.
- There was a single mom who just gave birth and did not have a safe place she could take the baby. I spent many hours cuddling and holding that baby. I prayed over him and sang to him. I don’t know what became of that mom and child but I pray that as the baby grew the knowledge that he was deeply loved by his Creator was a seed that grew with abandon in his life.
- There was a lady recovering from a serious car accident who needed a home without steps. Insurance was done providing rehab for her, but she could not yet return home. Often people in this situation fall through the cracks and can become homeless or institutionalized.
- Jerry used to say he never knew who would be at our house when he came home from work that day. We cared for a dozen or more children of all ages who either lived in their birth home or foster home. These kids, and sometimes the parent, needed a break. I can only imagine that some of those parents were encouraged in years gone by to give their child life only to be challenged by raising that child (perhaps with a disability or other diagnosis) and had no where else to turn. They needed a break and some support. Being able to welcome that child and give some relief to a parent for a short break is supporting the holiness of life.
Maybe you don’t have room in your home for another person or two; there are other ways you can engage in breathing help and hope into another’s life.
- Purchase a gift card, or leave some cash anonymously (you have to know the situation to do this) with the parent who is struggling . Perhaps you would help them buy diapers or formula, or maybe your gift would be a few bucks extra to get her hair cut or her nails done. This reminds Mom she has value and worth as well.
- Offer free babysitting even once a week so the parent can pursue their minimum wage job and reduce a bit of child care costs.
- Make yourself available to those who may live from crisis to crisis, or have no other healthy supportive people in their lives. Over the last couple of months we have twice been told that prior to talking with us their plan was to take their life that night. That’s pretty powerful. We didn’t do anything special. All we did was answer the phone and listen, or open the back door and invite someone in and give them a shoulder to cry on, and a hug to remind them they are not alone. Life, even when it hurts is holy!
- Build into the life of someone who may not have a family nearby, or any longer. This might be someone who is new to your area, or someone who was raised in the foster care system and never adopted, or any other number of reasons. If may even be someone who lives a lifestyle different than yours. Get to know them as a person – not with the idea to change their life, but to change yours. To share your life and the blessings God has given you with someone else.
- “Expand” your family. Hold on – I am not suggesting anything too drastic here. I am thinking of the young single woman who recently called us and asked us to be grandparents to the little one growing in her body. She wanted her child to have the influence of people like us. Sadly (for the mom and us) that child is now being held in the Father’s arms in Heaven before we ever got to meet him/her.
Lastly, for those of you who live a life of faith – don’t hide your faith! We experienced the ultimate sanctity of life recently when one of those above who was in crisis gave their life to Jesus when we simply asked the question, “Where do you think God is at in all this?” Can there be any better way to celebrate life, and life eternal, than introducing someone to our Heavenly Father! As the circle of life goes round last night I was feeling down, this new believer, for the first time, texted me a Scripture verse that had encouraged them, and now it ministered to me. Isaiah 41:13 “For I am the LORD your God who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear; I will help you.”
Sanctity of life . . . not a one day event, or even a nine month journey. The sacredness of life needs to be celebrated and protected; as the name implies, throughout LIFE.