The Gospel of John chapter 10 and verse 10 reports Jesus telling His disciples that He came that we might have life and have life abundantly. It is through the sacraments and the Scriptures that we find the essence and fullness of human life, now and for all eternity. John further records in John 14:6 that life is not a “concept” or merely something “spiritual” but is the person of Jesus. The person of Jesus shows that, in the eyes of God, all human life is not only good and sacred but is the focus of His love in Jesus and therefore worthy of redemption.
Every Christmas season the whole world and especially the Church are reminded that the God and King of the entire universe has become human in the womb of a virgin. Not human for a time, but for all time. He never abandons His humanity but takes humanity, through His death and resurrection, upon His Kingdom throne and sits in His humanity over all creation. This Christ Jesus, whom we worship because of His humanity and divinity, is God with us to never leave us.
The Church is called to proclaim that Jesus is Lord. He is the truth. Our task is not to debate the world about this truth but to proclaim this truth. Our convincing the world of this truth is far more profound than just discourse with our society and culture about truth; it is the presentation of Christ in us in the world. We are to live out the truth that is revealed to us by living that revelation in the culture and society in which we dwell.
I am absolutely opposed to abortion. I believe abortion is never necessary. I believe abortion is the taking of human life and, in some cases, not only killing but murder. I am abhorred by any abortion but particularly by late-term abortion and by those who are now comfortable even with infanticide. I am appalled by those who march forward with advocating abortion for any reason whatsoever, including genetic selection, gender selection, and racial selection.
Because I am opposed to abortion in this manner, I am often challenged with the charge that “being pro-life is more than being anti-abortion.” Of course to be pro-life is to be more than anti-abortion. And, the church, particularly the ancient and historic church, has always been in the forefront of proclaiming the dignity of human life. The church is called to bring life, not only for the salvation of our souls, but in the food for the hungry, water for the thirsty, and shelter for the homeless. The church has always embraced a welcome to strangers and refugees. The church has always visited those in prison and declared release to those who are in bondage to sin, the world, and the devil.
Drug addiction, alcoholism, sexual promiscuity, greed, materialism, consumerism, poverty, domestic violence, and the sex trade industry are breeding grounds for the killing of the unborn. The church must bring the Gospel of life and the light of that Gospel into those areas of darkness. The Gospel is the way to address these horrors.
At this moment in our history, we are confronted in the United States with around 3,000 abortions a day or 1,095,000 a year. Around the world there are more than 100,000 abortions a day or 36,500,000 a year. More abortions committed in one day than in all of World War II.
Abortion is not a legal issue or a political issue, though we need to address the issue in the courts and in the legislature. Abortion is a moral issue and an issue of the soul. Mother Teresa reminds us that a country that allows the killing of its infants in the womb has lost its soul. Have the nations of the world who have permitted and legalized this murder of children lost their soul, particularly the United States?
Because this is a moral issue our primary weapons are not carnal but spiritual to the tearing down of this stronghold of death. Prayer must be at the front of the Pro-Life movement. Through prayer that is sustained, not for days, but for day after day, we are going to see spiritual victories won in the physical realm. We are going to see the Gospel lived out in the flesh of transformed lives living out the Pro-Life discipline of discipleship. Abortion will end because we will see it for the evil that it is and always will be.
For this reason, at the core of the mission of CEC for Life is prayer. We know we belong in front of abortion mills, as well as places where abortion mills are being constructed, to stand and pray. We do the
Liturgy for the Preborn at the Time of Death because this is what the Church is called to do. We are called to pray.
Secondly, we educate the church on the issue of abortion. We keep the church informed of victories that are happening around the world. We educate people on how they can work in their own church and in their communities to end abortion. And, particularly, we educate young adults for the future of this ministry. They are the generation that will end abortion.
The CEC is not a church that is Pro-Life; it is a Pro-Life church. From the beginning we have been given signs and symbols to make visible the Pro-Life message, and not only on Sunday morning. We are a communion of people birthed in the jails of Los Angeles and around the country, making visible the Gospel of Life. We are a Church that knows we are to identify with the preborn, the woman in crisis, those in need of healing from abortion, and with those who seek freedom from the abortion industry.
On January 19th, the third Sunday of the Christmas season, the International Communion of the Charismatic Episcopal Church celebrates a feast in honor of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord and Giver of Life. During the Eucharist, an offering is to be taken where we ask every participant and member of the ICCEC to give generously to the Pro-Life work of our communion. We also ask every clergy, along with every parish, to partner with CEC for Life by submitting their membership request for the year.
I know you will want to participate with me in this holy work. I know you will want to give sacrificially and generously. Go to our website and see all that is happening because of your generosity and the blessing of God.
You are always in my prayers.
Under His mercy,
+Craig W. Bates, Patriarch ICCEC