O Church Arise

This weekend, I’ll be participating in the Sanctity of Human Life Service at Twin Oaks Presbyterian Church on Sunday at 6pm. Dr. Cortez Cooper will be speaking. Doug Merkey has organized the service. Doug is the president of Churches for Life. The abortion battle in our country has become such a politically charged thing that I was hesitant to get my hands dirty in the mess that surrounds it. However, I am convinced that life begins at conception and that murdering innocent life is always oppression and injustice. God’s kingdom is about freedom from oppression and freedom from injustice, so I can’t stand back and withdraw from the issue. More mercy!

When I was a kid, I participated in a “pro-life” rally. I remember being on the side of the road holding a sign. I came away from that experience with a pretty bitter taste in my mouth for political rallies. Since that time, I think that the right-wing political agenda for pro-life issues has been a bit of a let down. I’ve been disillusioned to the idea that an evangelical political coalition can elect a president/congressman/governor who will do any good for this issue. Unfortunately, I think that my feelings and experiences are probably shared by many of my generation on this topic.

In planning the service, I had some good talks with Doug about the need for the church to reengage with the fight. Doug’s perspective seems to be that the sanctity of life is not a “fad” issue that the church can cast off like a “what would Jesus do?” bracelet. But, the political systems of this world are not a replacement for the church, and the work of the kingdom of God is much bigger and yet more intimate than any supreme court decision would ever be. Doug’s charge to the church is to reenter the fray.

Dale Zarlenga recommended this excellent Keith Getty/Stuart Townend tune for the service which captures a lot of what I’m trying to say. The metaphore of the church as a army preparing for battle is there. However, the battle is not about the strength of our wisdom or power, but about the upside-down wisdom and power of the gospel of Jesus Christ.  Here’s the lyrics:

O Church Arise

Verse 1
O church arise and put your armour on
Hear the call of Christ our Captain
For now the weak can say that they are strong
In the strength that God has given
With shield of faith and belt of truth
We’ll stand against the devil’s lies
An army bold whose battle cry is Love
Reaching out to those in darkness

Verse 2
Our call to war to love the captive soul
But to rage against the captor
And with the sword that makes the wounded whole
We will fight with faith and valour
When faced with trials on every side
We know the outcome is secure
And Christ will have the prize for which He died
An inheritance of nations

Verse 3
Come see the cross where love and mercy meet
As the Son of God is stricken
Then see His foes lie crushed beneath His feet
For the Conqueror has risen
And as the stone is rolled away
And Christ emerges from the grave
This victory march continues till the day
Every eye and heart shall see Him

Verse 4
So Spirit come put strength in every stride
Give grace for every hurdle
That we may run with faith to win the prize
Of a servant good and faithful
As saints of old still line the way
Retelling triumphs of His grace
We hear their calls and hunger for the day
When with Christ we stand in glory

This is Tim Huges’ performance.

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