Every year in his annual report at Synod, Bishop Grote includes a recommendation which reads:
"Until the vicious and heinous practice of abortion in this country is ended, I call for our parishes to set apart one Sunday per year to acknowledge and celebrate the sanctity of human life. This may be observed either on the Sunday closest to Holy Innocents Day or on the Sunday nearest to the anniversary of Roe a Wade in January."
The practice of abortion and Christian opposition to it is not a new issue. The opposition is not something concocted by the religious right, whatever that means. Christianity's rejection of abortion is ancient and consistent. The present conflict is not without precedent. The practice of abortion has always been a feature of paganism. And as paganism returns, so do the practices of paganism.
What was it that distinguished the early Christians from the pagan world around them? Christian doctrine and belief were of course distinguishing features. However, the most visible distinction was the way those doctrines were translated into a value system. Christians possessed a world and life view and ethical practices which were an extension of their worldview.
The earliest Christian document we have outside of the New Testament is a manual on Christian ethics called The Didache. It was written somewhere between AD 60 and AD 120. In the second chapter of the Didache, there is a list of things Christians do not do. In that list we read,
thou shalt not murder a child by abortion nor kill that which is begotten. This is the earliest specific reference to abortion in Christian literature. Practices such as abortion which were common among pagans were rejected as incompatible with Christianity.
In another early Christian writing known as The Octavius of Minucius Felix, which was written about AD 210, we read, But the gentiles, both cruelly expose their children newly born, and before they are born destroy them by a cruel abortion. Christians are neither allowed to see or to hear of manslaughter. The ancient pagan even had something equivalent to a morning after pill. In this same document we read, There are some women who, by drinking medical preparations, extinguish the source of the future man in their very bowels, and then commit a parricide before they bring forth. It is apparent from these early documents that the Christian opposition to abortion and all forms of child abuse is long standing. The present fight is not a new one.
How did the early Church combat and defeat the practice of abortion? It was not defeated by legislation and protest. Legislation is only meaningful if there is an underlying and supporting world and life view. What we legislate in society is only what the majority of us whould do or not do even if there were no laws. Laws are written for that minority who have no moral conscience or value system. In a society which has lost or never had a moral conscience the only remedy is to bring into existence such a moral conscience. Legislation is powerless to do this.
The early Church knew this. So they preached the Gospel of Christ and lived the Gospel of Christ before the world. Abortion may be compared to the slave trade. The same argument is used for both. That is, the slave or the unborn are soulless beings who are not fully human. Slavery and abortion disappeared in the late Roman Empire as more and more people became Christians and lived accordingly.
What we have here are two contrasting value systems. The primary force behind slavery was the love of money. The same is true of abortion. It has been pointed out that an abortion doctor can make twice the money while working half the hours as a real physician who is pledged to heal people. And there are a host of others who have a financial interest in the abortion industry. All of the talk of women's right is but a smoke screen used to conceal the real reason why so many support abortion on demand. The true motivation is the love of money which St. Paul states in his first letter to Timothy (I Tim. 6:10 )
Christian values are and always have been in stark contrast to paganism. For us all human life is valuable for all human beings are God's creatures. We cannot and will not place a price tag on a human being.
If we hope to change our world it will only happen as it happened in the early centuries of the Christian Church. Change in society will happen as more people are converted to Christ and to the Christian world and life view. This means that we must be firm in our commitment to Christ so that the world might see and be transformed.
by Rev. F. M. Levi
The St. Andrew's Preschool Thanksgiving Program took place on Monday, Nov. 21. The children dressed as pilgrims, Indians and turkeys, sang and acted out parts much to the enjoyment of their parents and other family members.
The annual Thanksgiving Eve Service sponsored by the Tinley Park Ministerial Association was held here at St. Andrew's on Wednesday, Nov. 23, 2005. Several ministers in the association participated in the service along with our choir providing special music.
The Feast of St. Andrew (Nov. 30) was celebrated with a potluck dinner in the parish hall followed by the Service of Holy Communion in the chapel. The offering went to World Relief.
Congratulations to Joe and Joan Arrigoni on the birth of their son Caleb Grant, who was born Nov. 19, 2005, weighing 7lbs. 3oz. The proud grandparents are Grant and Fran Chessman.
Congratulations to Derrick & Sara Hassert on the birth of their daughter Renee June, who was born Dec. 10, 2005 , weighing 6lbs.
Fifth Sunday Potluck
January 29, 2006. Pot Luck luncheon after morning worship in the Parish Hall.
In January 2006, we will be updating addresses, phone & e-mail numbers for our church directory. Please call the church office (708) 614-7404 with any changes you have.
Missionary of The Month
Judy King. Bible Translation/Discipling. Summer Institute of Linquistics.
VISIT OUR WEBSITE
If you do not see your name and your birthday in the Parish Register, please send us the information, name, month & date, or call the church office (708) 614-7404.
Jan. 6 Elaine Spencer
Jan. 8 Shirley Drobnak
Jan. 11 Laura Sutton
Jan. 11 Henry Leenstra
Jan. 12 Marie Bowman
Jan. 14 George Yapp
Jan. 18 Janet Toomey
Jan. 18 Caroline Robertson
Jan. 19 William Garrison
Jan. 26 David Sutton
Jan. 27 Paul Christenson
Jan. 30 - Louis Buescher
The New Year
by Helen Kitchell Evans
Steadily the old year passes;
Another year arrives again.
Will it bring a better way
To stamp out greed in hearts of men?
Another year extended to us
By our Lord's amazing grace;
Another chance to overcome
The problems of our human race.
Another year of striving
To find a way for peace;
Another chance for planning
How to make wars cease.
Another year; the time flies on!
The rate is ever faster!
Let us cherish every hour
As we try to serve our Master.