“Our once great western Christian civilization is dying. If this matters to followers of Jesus Christ, then we must set aside our denominational differences and work together to strengthen the things that remain and reclaim what has been lost. Evangelicals and Catholics must stand together to re-establish that former Christian culture and moral consensus. We have the numbers and the organization but the question is this: Do we have the will to win this present spiritual battle for Jesus Christ against secularism? Will we prayerfully and cooperatively work toward a new Christian spiritual revival ― or will we choose to hunker down in our churches and denominationalisms and watch everything sink into the spiritual and moral abyss of a New Dark Age?” - Mark Davis Pickup

Monday, August 27, 2007

Choose Life - in all its states

Alberta Pro-Life Society sent me a link to the most profound 1 minute video called "In the Blink of an Eye." (See http://www.aish.com/movies/blinkofeye.asp) . It moved me beyond words. I sent it to the HumanLifeMatters email address book. Go to the web link and view it for yourself.

A Jewish man named Dr. Rachamin Melamed-Cohen is completely immobilized with Lou Gehrig’s disease. He exhorts us to "Choose Life." Why would someone in such a difficult physical position choose life? The world of modern bioethics would assert he does not have a life worth living, that his quality of life is insufficient – an yet he says only one thing: “Choose life.” Why?

Dr. Melamed-Cohen has said elsewhere,
"I feel at times that G-d has allowed me to live in order to show the world that even in such a condition one can continue to be creative and contribute to society... The message of Judaism is that one must struggle until the last breath of life. Until the last moment, one has to live and rejoice and give thanks to the Creator." (See Rabbi Yisrael Rutman, Mercy Redefined, http://www.torah.org/features/firstperson/mercyredefined.html)

As a Christian disabled with MS, I am in complete agreement with Dr. Melamed-Cohen's profoundly simple statement.
Every life has value, not just healthy lives. Life’s greatest teacher is life itself. Life is a journey that involves the ecstasy of mountain tops as well as the shadows of deep valleys. Just as God said to Joshua, He also says to you and me:

“Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” (Joshua 1.9.)

We must accept the path given to us with faith that God will be with us until we reach the Gates of the Celestial City and stand before Christ. Saint Paul told Timothy:

“This saying is trustworthy: If we have died with him we shall also live with him; if we persevere we shall also reign with him.” (2Timothy 2.11-12).

The world does not understand the spiritual refining capacity of human suffering. The Scriptures speak of suffering in terms of a refiner’s fire purifying precious metal (Job 23.10, Psalm 66.10, Malachi 3.3.)
Saint Peter said,

“In this you rejoice, although now for a little while you may have to suffer through various trials, so that the genuineness of your faith, more precious than gold that is perishable even though tested by fire, may prove to be for praise, glory, and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ. Although you have not seen him you love him; even though you do not see him now yet believe in him, you rejoice with an indescribable and glorious joy, as you attain the goal of (your) faith, the salvation of your souls.” (1 Peter 1.6-9.)
Suffering produces qualities God wants us to develop -- like perseverance, character, and hope that does not disappoint. Why? "[B]ecause the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us.” (Roman 3.3-5)

We must not despair. We know we will one day stand face to face before Christ and we will know just like we are known (1 Corinthians 13.12-13).

Mark Pickup

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