Several years ago, my musically-inclined dad leaned over to me during the singing portion of a church service and told me, his non musically-inclined daughter, 'you actually have a nice voice, but you don't sing on key.' Believe it or not, that was a compliment. Putting aside the fact that just singing from my heart is the joyful noise that God loves, I would never volunteer to sing a solo at church in order to spare actual people's ear drums! I rarely sing on key and when I do, I think it is by accident. I am what is popularly called 'tone deaf.' I cannot hear the key.
As I sang in church this morning, it struck me how beautiful it is to listen to someone sing who truly has 'a nice voice' partnered with the ability to 'sing on key' and my heart connected that to the beauty of being 'pro-life' in the sense of caring for the unborn and their parents and also being 'pro-refugee' and caring for our refugee neighbors in our own country and throughout the world. The title of our blog comes from Micah 6:8, a verse we also having hanging up in our son Micah's room: "He has shown you, O man, what is good; And what does the LORD require of you But to do justly, To love mercy, And to walk humbly with your God?" In his book Generous Justice, pastor and author Tim Keller describes that verse this way: "The term for 'mercy' is the Hebrew chesedh, God's unconditional grace and compassion. The word for 'justice' is the Hebrew term mishpat. In Micah 6:8, 'mishpat puts the emphasis on the action, chesedh puts it on the attitude...behind the action.' To walk with God, then, we must do justice, out of merciful love...Over and over again, mishpat describes taking up the care and cause of widows, orphans, immigrants, and the poor-those who have been called 'the quartet of the vulnerable'...God loves and defends those with the least economic and social power, and so should we. That is what it means to 'do justice.'" If you look on a Bible search engine, such as biblestudytools.com, you will find almost 50 verses about God's heart for His people to care for the orphan or fatherless and dozens more about caring for immigrants and refugees. In fact, Jesus Himself was a refugee in Egypt (Matthew 2) as His family fled for their lives from Herod, who wanted Jesus dead and mercilessly killed many boys two and under in Bethlehem and its region trying to find Him. The Bible is clear that we must help the refugee and for those of you with security concerns about letting them in, please know that the refugee vetting process is extremely rigorous, as explained on Refugee Care organization World Relief's website: https://www.worldrelief.org/press-releases/2016/3/2/the-global-refugee-crisis?rq=vetting.
When turning to what it means to be 'pro-life' in terms of caring for the unborn and their parents, the first passage of Scripture that always comes to mind for me is Psalm 139:13-14. It states, "For You created my inmost being; You knit me together in my mother's womb. I praise You because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Your works are wonderful, I know that full well." Simply put, I am pro-life because I believe that life begins at conception, that God knit those lives specifically in His image (Genesis 1 and 2) in their mother's wombs, and that abortion is the taking of this life and that is wrong. It is pretty easy to 'Google' when biological life begins and learn that it begins at conception. Some pro-life advocates use the acronym 'SLED' to explain why killing a baby inside the womb is not congruent with the belief that taking the life of a baby outside the womb is horrific. 'SLED' stands for 'Size, Level of Development, Environment, and Degree of Dependecy' (see www.sledtest.org for more details). I also know that much of the debate today resides in not whether or not the life growing inside the mother's womb is a baby, but with believing that the mother's autonomy is a higher value than the life in her womb. There are many, many difficult stories of pregnancies and others that just do not want a baby at the stage of life they are in and if you are in the midst of a difficult story, I would love to listen. It is hard being a mom and I would love to walk with you through your particular struggles. There are also amazing pregnancy care centers in this country and some throughout the world, like Care Net and also wonderful adoption agencies, like Bethany Christian Services, the agency we used to adopt our son Josiah. You are not alone.
As a Christian, I stand with the writer of Proverbs 31:8 who wrote, "Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute." Refugees often cannot speak for themselves in a way that is heard by those in power. The unborn cannot speak up for themselves. But, we can speak for them until they are heard. I am writing this blog by the light of the bathroom, while my oft-waking baby lies near, so I will not try to dissect why in our culture it seems that too often being 'pro-life' and 'pro-refugee' are not partnered together like a beautiful song sung by someone with a 'nice voice' who can also 'sing on key.' However, I do hope I was able to communicate in some small way, especially to the Christian community, that these two immensely important causes should be partnered together as we seek "to do justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with our God" and serve our Savior Jesus Christ who lived these truths all the way to the cross.
"He executes justice for the oppressed and gives food to the hungry. The LORD sets prisoners free, the LORD gives sight to the blind, he lifts up those who are bowed down, the LORD loves those who live justly. The LORD watches over the immigrant and sustains the fatherless and the widow, but he frustrates the way of the wicked" (Psalm 146:7-9).
Sometimes it is hard to know exactly how to help during this refugee crisis. That is something I am currently praying through and seeking to gain insight in order to know how to best help. I know that both World Relief (www.worldrelief.org) and World Vision (www.worldvision.org) are on the ground with refugees throughout the world and their websites are a good place to start.
As for the pro-life movement, Care Net Pregnancy Care Centers (www.care-net.org) are doing amazing work in caring for the unborn, their parents and the families post birth. Avenues for Women's Health in Frankfort (http://avenuesforwomen.com/) is connected with them and is a wonderful resource. There are many great adoption agencies in this country. Bethany Christian Services website (www.bethany.org) has good adoption and refugee care resources.