Our main verse for the March for Life this year came from the Gospel of Matthew, chapter 5: “Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others…”
A light shining in the dark could not have been more evident this past weekend as we held our Memorial Die-in and the Liturgy for the Preborn in front of the United States Supreme Court. Both events were surrounded by an incredibly hostile group of counter protestors who screamed, chanted, sounded bull horns, and jeered throughout our time of peaceful demonstration and solemn prayer.
We began our March for Life activities on Thursday night. Groups arrived from several states including Florida, Maryland, Pennsylvania, New York, and Kansas. Our youth headed to the OneVoice DC Rally, where Stephen McFillin of Cathedral Church of Reconciliation, age 17, led prayer on stage with several other young pro-lifers.
Friday morning we celebrated Eucharist with Patriarch Craig Bates, and then headed to the Supreme Court with dozens of youth for our Memorial Die-In. During the Die-In, youth lie down on the sidewalk as others cover them over with red fabric. They are lying down in prayerful unity with their preborn brothers and sisters, the red cloth symbolizing the blood shed by abortion. Other youth and clergy led prayers as those on the ground remained silent. Rev. Pat Mahoney of the Christian Defense Coalition closed the demonstration out by asking every pro-life Christian present to kneel in prayer.
All throughout this solemn demonstration, counter protestors screamed, chanted and danced around. One counter protestor towered over a participant and started taking selfies. As we all knelt at the end, the stark contrast of peace and chaos was jarring.
By 12 Noon, the remainder of our groups had arrived for the Liturgy for the Preborn. As we began to gather with songs of worship led by Caleb Northwood several of the counter protestors situated themselves directly in front of the stage, continuing to yell and chant and mock our prayers. One woman in particular pushed into Cathy Bates as Cathy tried to take photos of the event. When asked to stop, the woman just yelled “My body, my choice!” along with several other things, and continued pushing.
When it came time for Patriarch Craig Bates to address the crowd, he stepped up and offered an inspiring round of encouragement to our group. “It doesn’t matter if they hear us,” he said, “it only matters if God hears us. And God hears us when we pray! And the battle is not going to be won in the ballot box. The battle is won on our knees.” He added, “Don’t be afraid, says the Gospel. He’s with us, and I read the book, and we win!”
As the Liturgy concluded, the counter protestors finally gave up and rejoined their group outside of our circle. We finished the last few moments of the Liturgy in peace, and in knowing that our battle is not against flesh and blood, and that the light will always shine in the darkness. Then we walked down Constitution Ave to join hundreds of thousands of other lights in the March for Life.
Later that evening, CEC For Life also held an interactive youth training focused on the importance of family, led by Fr. Scott Looker and Sarah Howell. Afterwards, we ate pizza and broke into groups for one final game. Avery Northwood, who led the game, asked each group to act out the plot of any film they felt had a life-affirming message. Everything from Finding Nemo to Soul Surfer to Godzilla made the list and brought on a ton of laughs. It was a wonderful fellowship-filled end to a very intense day.
CEC For Life would like express how proud we are of our communion, and especially of our young people, for not allowing the hostility, aggression, and persecution experienced that day to distract us from praying for the preborn and standing for life. Our people acted peacefully and with compassion, and no matter how hard the enemy tried to derail us, God blessed our time on the Supreme Court steps.
If anything, this year was a vital reminder that the fight against abortion is always a spiritual battle, and it is only through the love, compassion and courage of Christ that we will win. As Martin Luther King, Jr. so famously said, “Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.”
If you have never attended the March for Life, we encourage you to consider joining us in January 2021. We’ll even give you a whole year to think about it. Come and let your light shine!