I love anniversaries. Dates of special epiphanies, events, or decisions always have - and always will be - worth celebrating. In a way, each day is mini-anniversary, marked by annual spiritual and intellectual growth, memorialized on the journal pages of by-gone years. Revelations gained, friendships forged, and the beauty of triumph through deepest pains - these are events to hold often before us, with teachable and thankful spirits.
But some things are best, forgotten.
At the ripe old age of 7, mom and dad began cautioning me about what I allowed my eyes to see: magazines in the store, movies at friends' houses, and even words in books. "Once an image is in your mind," my dad explained, "you can never completely erase it." Even so, there are, tucked away in a dusty back corner of my mind, images I wish away. Yet, by the grace of my Savior, these pictures and thoughts are essentially forgotten. I do not see them, think about them, or relive them. My mind has been reborn to think on more excellent things.
However, until beauty and grace have filled the ugly spaces, distasteful memories - anniversaries of sin - cannot be forgotten. Today marks such an anniversary. Forty-one years ago today was made the most devastating, cold-blooded ruling this nation has ever seen. Forty-one years ago today, Roe v Wade reached its verdict.
True it is that the triumph of evil asks only for the passiveness of good. At a rally I attended this past Sunday, I learned that there are more "pro-life young people" in the States today than there were the year before Roe v Wade. While this is progress, I could not help wondering if there were actually more young people, or simply more young people willing to stand. Who among us is passionate and willing to stand up on an unchallenged issue? If there is no debate about the morality of stealing, do we still uncompromisingly teach that it is wrong? Or do we passively neglect the discussion, merely cringing when "exceptions" are made? What issues do we avoid "giving all diligence" in, because the final line hasn't yet been drawn on the wrong side, forcing our hands? Did abortion blind-side the Christians of the '70s?
Fifty-six times the bell rang on Sunday. Fifty-six. Each soul-shattering clang remembered not ten, not a hundred, not a thousand, but one million still, silent hearts. One million faces that will never wrinkle up in tears, smooth out at the sight of mama, or laugh at papa's silly antics. One million pairs of shoes that will never be tied. One million hugs that will never cling to a lonely neck.
Fifty-six times clanged the bell. Fifty-six million dead.
And I wept. Wept for the little ones who will never be, wishing I could hold them close and protect them from such carnage. Wept for the mothers who have thus ended so many lives, longing to hug them, and tell them about the unconditional, overpowering love and forgiveness my Father has for them. Wept for the desolation with which this country has brought upon and so injured itself.
In these brief 41 years, we have multiplied in unborn, innocent blood - by more than 2500% - the first 215
years of American military deaths. In these short 41 years, we, the people of the United States, have ended the lives of more than the combined populations of Canada and Romania. In these mere 41 years, millions have been lied to about the precious infants in their wombs, have been swindled, or allowed to remain willfully ignorant, as they become party to the destruction of lives.
This is a story with no happy ending - yet. But hope abounds. Abortion rates are dropping in the States, slowly and surely. While there are still thousands of abortion victims, there are also thousands who have been rescued: snatched from death by the prayers, sacrifices, and tireless efforts of those who see each life as sacred.
Oh, so sacred.
Increasingly, the personhood of the child in the womb will be a non-issue in a society that has lost its belief in the dignity of man. Stripped of the science and emotionalism in our debates, we will be left with the very heartbeat of our argument for the honoring of human lives: that Christ's blood was shed to remove all memory of our sin from before the Father.
Friends, let us do more than merely hold a conviction - let us act upon it. Let us work diligently and speak bravely for the lives of the unborn. Let us pray earnestly for the softening and salvation of those both administering and receiving abortions. Let us find ways to support those seeking life for their babies - volunteering our time, organizing fundraising. Let us work earnestly for the removal of this anniversary.
Some memories are best, forgotten.