HOPE for the HAPLESS

Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer. Romans 12:12


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A Little Healthy Reflection

Since we are on the subject of life and death (see my last post), I would like to take the opportunity to thank the government of Canada for the recent stance they have taken on “maternal and child health” in poor countries.  In preparation for the Leader’s meeting of the G8 next month.

Maternal, child health in poor countries leads G8 talks in Halifax By The Canadian Press

HALIFAX, N.S. – A two-day meeting of G8 development ministers got underway in Halifax on Tuesday with a debate on abortion looming over a discussion on improving maternal and child health in poor countries.  Canada announced on Monday it won’t support funding for abortions in the developing world as part of a family planning initiative it is pushing as a key agenda item for a meeting of G8 leaders in June in Huntsville, Ont …  On Monday, Oda said Canada’s contribution internationally could involve family planning and the use of contraceptive methods, but funding for abortions is not something the federal government will support.

Some government critics say Oda’s declaration on abortion could threaten an attempt to find a consensus on the best approach to maternal and child health among G8 development ministers. Ontario Liberal MP Bob Rae said the Tories’ position is ridiculous. “They have this great sort of double talk where they say, ‘We don’t want to reopen the abortion debate.’ Well, they just did,” he said outside the Commons on Monday. He said the federal government is trying to impose its moral agenda on other countries. “Canada is now taking an ideological position and, frankly, I think they’ve raised something which could well have been avoided in the effort to create a stronger international consensus.”

As soon as the word abortion is raised hackles go up and the rhetoric starts flying.  It is not my intention to fling rhetoric.  What I would like to do is ask once again (see Abortion Question Part I and Part II) for a little healthy reflection – this time on what health care is.  There are many who claim that free and easy access to abortion is not only necessary, but vital to maternal health. Perhaps we should stop for a moment and discuss what the word maternal means.

“Maternal – related to or characteristic of a mother” (Oxford English dictionary)

Now please realize that I do not say this tongue-in-cheek.  I’m not trying to be a wise-guy.  I simply want to know how a woman destroying that very thing that would make her a mother, can be considered as receiving maternal health care?  Is a farmer a farmer because of the crops he destroys?  Is a writer a writer based upon the books he burns?  How can the destruction of a woman`s unborn child be considered maternal care?  How can it be defined in any way as health care for women AND Children?

But so many women die because of unsafe, illegal abortions (especially in poor countries), to deny them that right would be to in effect kill them.  So the argument from the other side goes.  Yet, let’s please stop and think critically about this too.  Why should women have to suffer the consequences of a bad  decision?  It almost sounds like those who might ask why a fetus should have to suffer the consequences of not even being allowed to have a decision.  Why is it morally wrong not to safeguard the life of a human (who willingly chooses to kill her offspring), but morally ambiguous as to whether or not that human offspring in question should be safeguarded?  Does not our moral obligation lie as much or more in aiding those who face death through no fault of their own, as it is with those whose very decisions are implicit in causing their own demise?

And finally, to Mr. Rae and those with him that oppose health care that only cares for health instead of also offering death … since when is consensus more important than human rights?  Just because others are doing it doesn’t make it right, nor is it Canada’s job on the international stage simply to do whatever the rest of the gang is doing.

Oh, and by the way, being pro-abortion is as much an ideological stand as being against it … the only difference is in who will thank you for it – the ones who are allowed to kill or the ones who are allowed to live.  On behalf of them, I thank you government of Canada.

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Life (and Death) Along a Busy Road

It was the morning of Good Friday, five minutes before the Divine Service was about to begin, when the skidder appeared across the highway to begin the very noisy work of hauling fallen trees from the site of the new bypass. For weeks the logs had lain there (this is a long term infrastructure project). For weeks there had been no sign of any heavy machinery. Indeed, since that day I have only seen the skidder one further time. But there on Good Friday, like clockwork, the big diesel tractor begins his deafening work only a few hundred feet from our church’s front door.

And as I stood there watching in disbelief, I found myself then looking at the hundreds upon hundreds of cars steadily making their way (presumably) up the road to the ski hill for a last long weekend of skiing in beautiful 20 degree weather. The clouds of darkness began to descend upon my heart. What was going on? Didn’t people realize that this was an important day? That earth-changing events were being remembered? Life and death were being played out on a cosmic scale. We were about to hear the last words of Jesus as He sacrificed Himself for this world that has lost its way, that has got its priorities all wrong! Work and play can wait, this day is different! Let the trees lie, there will be time to move them later! Stop for a few minutes on the way to the hill and hear what your God did out of love for you! But the world didn’t listen to my pleas. They all just kept on doing what they were doing, oblivious to life-changing events going on right under their noses.

But then the words of that Good Friday reading struck me in a way I had never really considered before.

“Pilate also wrote an inscription and put it on the cross. It read, ‘Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews.’ Many of the Jews read this inscription, for the place where Jesus was crucified was near the city, and it was written in Aramaic, in Latin, and in Greek.” (John 19:19-20)

“And those who passed by derided him, wagging their heads.” (Matthew 27:39)

When Jesus was crucified for the sins of the world, He was hung beside a busy highway, just like mine. And as He hung there paying the debt of every sinner, the world went about it’s business. Flocks of people going into the city for their holiday weekend festivities. Normal men and women on the way to or from their daily work. As Jesus hung there dying, life went on! When the Saviour was lifted up, how many were too busy to look? When the King spoke His last words, how many gave no pause to listen? How many took no notice at all? How many simply paused for a moment to wonder what all the fuss was about, only to be called back to their own concerns a moment later? How many, took the opportunity to sneer and jeer, and think to themselves what a big waste of time and life that sad spectacle was?

That’s what the world does. What it has always done. It busies itself with countless frivolities that will never really matter. It distracts itself with work and play, very rarely ever giving thought to what is really going on around them. Life and death, forgiveness and salvation is right there, but will they ever see it?

Sometimes.

Only four days later, I sat in the hospital room of a dear saint as she passed from this veil of tears into her heavenly reward. She died in her Lord with her beloved children by her side. And in the hallway of the hospital people continued to hurry from one task to the next, from one thing to another. Life went on and very few took any notice of this life and death either. But some did.

The doctor, the nurses, the caregivers, and the family … each was given that pause. Each marked the passing and the promise. Each dropped, even if only for a moment, the trivialities of this life to ponder the eternal truths and comfort of a Saviour who brought about life for His dear saints, from His own death and resurrection. Each was pulled to the side of this busy highway of life to consider again, the cross, the tomb and the hope of the resurrection.

So, now as the world continues to stream by the doors of the church, hurrying on to whatever job or joy they have planned and taking little or no notice of what is going on right there beside that busy road, I don’t get as upset. For I know that even if they are not willing to stop today, there will come a day when they cannot go any further and will have to pull in. A day when their life comes crashing down like a fallen tree, ready to be hauled off and disposed of. And I pray that on that day when they pull of that busy road they will see the cross and the tomb, the death and the resurrection, and I can share with them what Jesus did for them on the side of that busy Judean road so long ago.