LCMS Life Ministry has begun a new campaign called Eyes of Life. It is an effort to spread the stories of people who see with eyes of life, eyes that recognize God’s gift of life, eyes that see life with the lens of God’s Word. According to Deaconess Pam Nielsen, associate executive director of LCMS Communications, “Eyes of Life is a conversation about life in a culture of death. Let’s see life the way our Lord sees life; and let our story reflect what we see. Life.”
The new website associated with the campaign (eyesoflife.org) gives this powerful reason for publicly sharing how the Christian perspective on life is lived:
We are for life! In a world bent down and suffering under the darkness of abortion, euthanasia and death in all of its forms, individual members of The Lutheran Church – Missouri Synod (LCMS) are standing tall to tell their stories.
A seasoned woman who has had an abortion rejoices in Christ’s forgiveness. A young Chinese man with special needs is loved by his adopted family. A single mom chooses life for her son when urged to get an abortion.
These and other members of the LCMS are speaking up. By sharing their stories through the #eyesoflife campaign, they are boldly giving voice to what millions of others believe as well: that all life, from conception to natural death, is sacred, valued, and a gift from God.
LCMS Life Ministry commissioned singer/songwriter Erin Bode for the theme song of the campaign. Not only is Erin a fabulous artist, but she is the cousin of my wife Amy. Therefore, I have had the privilege of following her distinguished career in writing, performing, and recording albums along with her very talented husband Syd Rodway.
In writing the theme song “Right from the Beginning” Erin drew on many experiences and stories of life that have affected her. However, she tried to keep the verses general enough that listeners could imagine somebody they know who was or is in similar circumstances. The song begins by speaking about parents of a special needs son, parents who “fear his time is borrowed” but who also “cherish every single day he’s here.” Also included is the struggle of a sixteen-year-old girl who is overwhelmed with problems left to the imagination. And finally the song mentions a man who raised his family and, in his elder years, is given some “bad news” presumably from the doctor, a subject that caused Erin to consult with her father who is a LCMS pastor. Throughout the song the lyrics exult in the work of the God of life who not only proclaimed His creation good but has set apart and made people His own by grace.
The Synod has produced a very moving video to go with the song. You can watch and listen at eyesoflife.org.
What may be of special interest to alumni of Concordia Seminary, St. Louis, is that a pair of familiar eyes is featured in the video. Dr. Norman Nagel and his family are shown in the “Right from the Beginning” production. Dr. Nagel’s story is also given at eyesoflife.org:
Pastor Nagel suffered a severe stroke some ten years ago, leaving him paralyzed on one side. . . .
“When I was weak,” he explains simply, “it was He [Christ] who pulled me through.” . . .
“Weekly Communion,” Pastor Nagel explains, gives him the “strength to get through this hard time.” Visitors – from former students to current pastors – remind him that “he is cared about and isn’t forgotten,” Betsy [his wife] says.
Please read the full account and the many other stories on the site.
Our Mid-South District will have its own Eyes of Life introduction as Erin Bode will be singing at this month’s 50th Anniversary Celebration in Little Rock, Oct. 17-19.
Please allow me to mention a few other life matters. First, the District’s set of Touch of Life fetal models may be checked out for use in your Sunday school or other educational settings. Contact me if you are interested in having the set for a month. Second, there are two life conferences to either attend or follow online when the presentations are posted: the Lutherans for Life Conference in Bloomington, MN, Oct. 21-22, and the 2017 LCMS Life Conference in Arlington, VA, Jan. 27-29.
Contributed by – Rev. Philip Young
Mid-South District Life Coordinator