The March for Life is always a paradox of emotions. It’s exciting to be with hundreds and thousands of other pro-lifers, affirming the sanctity of life and standing in unity with one another, but you can never quite escape the tragedy of the event, can you?
Why are we in DC? Because our own nation has murdered more than 50 million preborn children since 1973. And that is simply not a thing to celebrate. It is, however, a thing to submit to dedicated prayer, which always produces joy in the light of Christ’s victory, and that was a beautiful theme throughout our two days in Washington, DC.
Thursday night, our young people and many CEC clergy and youth leaders attended the OneVoiceDC Rally, hosted by The Radiance Foundation and Bound4Life, and co-sponsored by CEC For Life. We love this rally. It is a time of praise and worship, a time of prayer, and a time to refocus on how we end abortion in this nation – through the power and love of Christ.
Many great pro-life voices offered up prayers throughout the night, including Tony Perkins of the President of the Family Research Council, author Eric Metaxas of the book Bonhoeffer, Catherine Davis of the Restoration Project and many, many others.
Our own youth were blessed to offer up prayers, all of them gathering in front of the crowd during the “Celebrating Victories” portion of the night, while Sarah Howell, Hayley Bifulco and Avery Northwood led them in prayer. Hayley and Avery were both essay winners for last summer’s Pilgrimage to Life & Leadership Conference in Spain. It’s a blessing to see them continue that call to leadership.
Friday morning, before setting out for a full day of events, we gathered early in the hotel for Eucharist with Patriarch Craig Bates. CEC’ers from Maryland, New York, California, Kansas, North Carolina, Virginia, Alabama, Pennsylvania and Florida came together to break bread and receive an encouraging word from Bishop Bates. Again, it was a beautiful time of prayer, and it set the tone for the rest of our day.
After Eucharist, all of our youth groups boarded a bus and headed off to the White House for CEC for Life’s 2017 DC Memorial Die-In, co-hosted by CEC For Life, UrbanCure and the Christian Defense Coalition. In a compelling visual display just outside of the White House, dozens of youth laid on the cold ground in solidarity with their preborn brothers and sisters. Red cloth covered them, representing the blood that has been shed each day behind the closed doors of abortion clinics.
While they laid there, leaders like Fr. Terry Gensemer of CEC For Life, Star Parker and Rev. Derek McCoy of UrbanCure, Rev. Pat Mahoney of CDC, and Seth Dreyer of Created Equal, addressed and prayed over this generation, encouraging them to continue fighting to end this holocaust.
It was a stark difference from the weekend before, when young people ran through the streets of DC destroying property, vandalizing buildings, and screaming at anyone who opposed them. Instead of anger, the youth participating in this Die-In chose peaceful, prayerful demonstration, and God will bless them for it.
In fact, He was already blessing them. When we arrived at the Supreme Court directly after for the Annual Liturgy for the Preborn, the atmosphere was already very different than last year, or even the year before.
Generally, by the time we arrive for the Liturgy, there are a great deal of abortion advocates gathered and screaming and attempting to disrupt our payer service. This year, however, though there were still about a dozen or so protestors present, they were far less hostile, at least for that hour that we shared the sidewalk with them. Some might attribute that to the march that took place the weekend before. Perhaps abortion advocates couldn’t afford a second trip just to yell at us?
We attribute it to our Lord going before and behind us, preparing the way as we prepared our hearts, step by step, throughout our time in DC.
We are especially thankful to Students for Life, for providing the stage and sound system we used during the Liturgy, and for Caleb Northwood of Church of the Reconciliation in Maryland. Caleb is a talented young musician, and he led our worship songs as we began the prayers.
It was a good trip and, with the most pro-abortion President in our history finally out of office, there is so much more good that could happen in the next four years. But that new battle begins with prayer, and the 2017 March for Life was a vital reminder of that.
As it says in James 5:16, “The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much.” Imagine what the prayers of many righteous men could do. Could they end abortion? Absolutely. Let’s remember that as we move through 2017. Let us never fail to pray.