“By this we know love, that he laid down his life for us, and
we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers” (1 John 3:16).
Last month, thousands of people gathered at Planned Parenthood locations across the United States. Together, they participated in a National Day of Protest, speaking out against the murder of tiny babies still within their mothers’ wombs. It is our hope that the media and the government took notice, and that they will begin a rigorous and honest look at the horrors that occur each day at Planned Parenthood and, one day soon, put an end to abortion altogether.
While many of you may have participated in that event, we also invite all members of The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod to take part in a Day of Remembrance on Sept. 12 — not just at Planned Parenthood locations, but at your churches, outside your schools, in your homes and by the gravesides of children who have been aborted.
Why pray? Why take time to remember? Because our Lord has promised us that He hears and answers prayers! When we pray for the protection of these little children, when we ask Him to send comfort and peace to mothers whose choice to abort their children haunts them, when we tell Him of our desire to care for moms and babies in our midst, and when we beg Him to help us speak for life, He hears.
And He does not let our prayers go unanswered.
What the world — and places like Planned Parenthood — intends for evil, God works for good. And He is still at work even now, reconciling the world to Himself, not counting our sins against us as He made Him who had no sin to be sin for us. We remember and pray because we are forgiven. The outcome is already certain.
Through the wood of the cross, joy has come into the world! Death has been put to death, and Satan’s evil work against the smallest of children will only continue for a time.
That’s why we pray: Because Christ is risen, and not just for us but for all people. That’s what we tell those who stop outside our churches and ask what we’re doing, who yell as we pray outside Planned Parenthood clinics, who are curious about why we care. We pray because as the Church, our “message is a call to be reconciled with God,” as the sainted Lutheran pastor Hermann Sasse reminds us. We “have no other Gospel than the Gospel of the forgiveness of sins. … What [Jesus] alone and no other person brought, and still brings, is … forgiveness.”
The days are indeed busy; your various vocations fill your time, as they should! But pausing to remember the deaths of these babies, to pray for those who are plagued by guilt over the deaths of their children, to come alongside women in crisis pregnancies is worth it because each one of them is of worth to Christ. His forgiveness and His love are worth it! Reminding the world of the One who died and rose for 10-week-old babies even as He died and rose for 10-year-olds and 100-year-olds is worth it.
On Sept. 12, please join us in a Day of Remembrance. Let us together kneel before the Crucified One who yet lives, who is working all things — even death and suffering and hardship — for good. He causes us to pray and — wonder of wonders! — has seen fit to remember us day in and day out, no matter who we are or what we’ve done.
We have provided A Vigil of Repentance in Remembrance of the Victims of Abortion and A Sermon in Memory of the Victims of Abortion for your use should you find them helpful when organizing a prayer vigil at your congregation or school.
Rev. Dr. Matthew C. Harrison
President, The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod
P.S. While we expect more information regarding Planned Parenthood to be released, we as the Church will simultaneously put forth a concerted effort to share good news that upholds life, telling the stories of our Recognized Service Organizations, congregations and individual members who are working — in big ways and small — to care for the unborn and their mothers. Please visit lcms.org and the LCMS Facebook page routinely to learn more.
- Download and share Day of Remembrance image — Color | Black and White
- LCMS Video: “It Is Time to End Abortion”
- LCMS Life Ministry
- A Sermon in Memory of the Victims of Abortion
- A Vigil of Repentance in Remembrance of the Victims of Abortion
- National Day of Remembrance for Aborted Children on Sept. 12