Roe v. Wade and the Church
June 26, 2022*
By Pastor John Partridge
I watched an online clergy forum as pastors debated what they should say about this week’s Supreme Court decision overruling Roe v. Wade. There were, of course, a myriad of opinions and I felt led to weigh in as well. My opinion was to assume that half of your congregation is pleased with the decision and half of your congregation are disappointed, or mournful, or worse. Among us today are those who have had abortions. Among us are those who have struggled with infertility. Among us are Republicans, Democrats, Libertarians, and a whole spectrum of other things. As a whole, and as a group, we are conflicted on this issue.
But, whatever your feelings, be sure that you register, and that you vote for those people who best represent your positions.
After that, regardless of all that, there are things that, as the church, that we should agree on, and that should unite us as the followers of Jesus Christ. At Youth Annual Conference this week, the message to our young people emphasized our need to “show up” in ministry to the world. This is also the emphasis of Jesus’ brother, the apostle James when he wrote James 2:14-16.
14 What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if someone claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save them? 15 Suppose a brother or a sister is without clothes and daily food. 16 If one of you says to them, “Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it? 17 In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.
Our mission is the thing that unites us as the followers of Jesus and regardless of our feelings in this issue, we recognize that this decision will make life more difficult for our neighbors. We recognize that this is likely to make life harder for people who are already struggling.
And so, regardless of what happens in Washington, or in Columbus, we must not simply say “Go in peace, keep warm and well fed.” We must not cast our vote in November and think that we have done our duty and do nothing else. We must be a people of action. We must be the people who “show up” for our neighbors. We must be not just people of faith, but people whose faith is inseparably connected to deeds and actions.
We are the watchmen in the walls of our city.
We must watch over our neighbors. We must, now more than ever, care for the poor, the hungry, single mothers, and young families. We must act, both with our deeds and with our wallets, to make sure that no child goes to bed hungry, that no parent needs to choose between healthcare and feeding their children, or between feeding their children and eating themselves. We must do what we canto make sure that counseling is available, affordable, or even free to those who struggle because of poverty, rape, incest, abuse, or any of a multitude of ways that this change in the law will ripple outward and make life harder for our neighbors.
Whether you think that this week’s Supreme Court decision was good or bad, the end result… for ALL of us, is that we must focus on our mission. We must be the watchmen on the walls of our cities. We must care for those around us.
Because if our faith is not inseparably connected to action… then our faith is dead.
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