May in our streets no anguished cry distress us!

Almost a month ago was the launch of the New Abortion Caravan in the heart of downtown Vancouver, Canada, on the steps of the Vancouver Art Gallery. Having noticed me at the rally, Mike Schouten, campaign director for WeNeedaLaw, asked me to offer some personal/pastoral impressions of the event and snippets of the conversations I was able to have with some of the pro-abortion counterparts who were present.

I found the impressive poise and decorum of the pro-life advocates a testimony in itself to the dignity of their cause. All of the pro-life speakers and placard-bearers, organizers and participants demonstrated a spirit of seriousness, modesty, confidence and courage, a combination that is rare in our day. They remained undistracted and undisturbed by the verbal and visual profanities relentlessly hurled at them by their pro-abortion counterparts.

Before and after the short speeches that were given, while holding high a sign or two for, I took the opportunity to rub shoulders with my pro-abortion neighbours. While some of them were quite hostile toward me and my friends and attempted to shove us out of what they considered their ‘territory’, we mostly smiled kindly and stood our ground, resisting the temptation to return their insults and bullying, and inviting them instead into rational conversation with us. At one point I was actually jostled by a few female protestors, who rudely hoisted their signs in front of mine and tried to force me off the curb and into the noon-hour traffic on West Georgia.

I could highlight the most ridiculous antics of many of the pro-abortion folks by which they tried to draw attention away from the pro-lifers, but plenty of other media and social networking sources have already chronicled a lot of that. Let me only say that their conduct made it obvious that they were far less interested in rational reflection and dialogue, and far more interested in staging a raucous display of hatred and aggression toward anyone holding a view opposing their own.

All this is not to say that the confrontation was fruitless, or that all of them were acting up. Here are a few samples of the conversations I had with some of my pro-abortion neighbours.

Once I had secured my spot on the street-curb, a young university student began questioning me about the pro-life cause. Although she was holding a pro-abortion placard, her questions were serious, and I was happy to see her placard-waving become less enthusiastic as our conversation progressed. She was mostly interested in knowing what I would want to see done to women seeking abortions. Should they be fined? Jailed? Worse? Fair questions. I told her that I believe fellow Canadian citizens, churches, and government agencies should do everything in their power to offer help and support to such women so that the humans inside them can remain safe in their mother’s womb, be delivered, and keep living; and that the mothers themselves should be offered support and counsel for their own well-being.

During that conversation another more vocal woman told me that she has lupus, and that if she would become pregnant she would be endangering both her own and her baby’s life. I expressed my sincere sympathy with her predicament and suggested that when complex ethical conundrums like hers arise, such conundrums need to be carefully weighed with expert medical consultation and advice, but that unrestricted access to abortion is not the answer.

At one point, a number of young, pro-abortion men taunted a couple of us pro-life men as we approached the curb of Howe Street with our WeNeedaLaw signs. “Nice day for a walk, isn’t it?” one of them hollered, inviting a verbal scrap. (It actually was a gorgeous day in Vancouver!) “It sure is,” I answered. “Did you ever consider how the other people of your and my generation might have enjoyed this sunshine, too, if they hadn’t been aborted?” No reply, except more guffaws and profanities.

Later, as I was speaking with a man who was challenging me on my pro-life convictions, I pointed out a mother walking by, affectionately cradling her new-born baby. She seemed to be a pedestrian who just happened to be walking by, and didn’t appear to be there for the event. I asked him how he would react if someone would grab and kill that defenceless baby right then and there. I also asked him how he would react if that mother would be the one carrying out the deed. He was stunned by my question (as much as I myself was sickened by the very thought) and granted that late-term abortions are probably not a good idea.

I and others had many more such conversations with our neighbours in Vancouver that day. We all made a conscious effort to remain friendly, kind, and respectful toward each of our opponents, even the most extreme and vulgar. In many of those conversations, we had the opportunity to remind people that there is a loving and righteous God, that God is the Creator of human life, and that he has created human life in his image and therefore we are not permitted to mess with it however we please. We had the opportunity to show in the way we spoke, gestured and acted (and in the way we responded) that Jesus our Saviour is loving, compassionate, gracious, merciful, and righteous. We didn’t do it perfectly, and we still have a lot to learn, but we did our best to be faithful witnesses of the God of life and of King Jesus the merciful Saviour.

The most important lesson I learned that day on the steps of the Vancouver Art Gallery in the hustle and bustle of this lovely yet confused city, is that it is one thing to hold the pro-life position. It is quite another to stand toe to toe, face to face with those who hold an opposing position, and to answer them in love and compassion, wisdom and truth.

The cries of pre-born children who are being aborted are silent, but there is One who hears them all. Our almighty, loving, life-giving Creator God and Father. And we do, too. Here’s a prayer for the silent, anguished cries that so distress us still:

May in their youth our sons like saplings flourish,
like sturdy plants that with the rains you nourish,
our daughters with their beauty us enthral
like graceful columns in a palace hall;
and may our garners all be overflowing,
provisions of all kinds on us bestowing.
May in our fields our sheep so multiply
that their ten thousands every count defy. 

May all those blessings to your praise incite us,
our oxen, drawing heavy loads, delight us.
And may there be no breaching of our walls;
may we be safe within our citadels.
May in our streets no anguished cry distress us.
Remember, LORD, your people’s prayer and bless us.
How happy those who reap such rich reward!
Yes, happy those whose king is God the LORD!


Psalm 144 (as versified in the Book of Praise)

Have mercy on our nation, O God!

Have mercy on Canada, Lord Jesus!

Published in: on June 22, 2012 at 1:30 pm  Comments (3)  
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