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Thursday, 21 June 2018
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How Pro-Life Work Both Requires and Enhances Unity in the Body of Christ

Despite the early hour of the day, the worship team was energetic and the atmosphere full of joy. I raised my voice and hands to join a thousand other worshippers in praising God.

We were in Anaheim for the Heartbeat International conference in April, gathered for the cause of life. The crowd included men and woman, Catholics and Protestants, young and old, and people of different races –a beautiful collection of God’s image-bearers, joined together to speak up for those who have no voice.

During that sweet time of worship, I thought of a similar conference I’d attended in the past, where the speaker asked this rhetorical question: “If Planned Parenthood holds conferences, what songs do you suppose they sing?”

Which begs other questions about those who oppose life-affirming work: What do they worship? What is their common source of strength and unity? How deep is their love for each other?

I’m not sure how abortion proponents would answer such questions, but I know what’s true for followers of Jesus.

Here’s how I put it in Unleashing Your Courageous Compassion

“There’s only one reason people from diverse backgrounds love each other, work together, and rejoice with one another the way Christians do—we all belong to Jesus and he belongs to us. The common ground for all followers of Christ is the foot of his cross.”

One thing I’ve enjoyed most about life-affirming work is the diversity represented in this ministry. Many different “flavors” of Christians care deeply about protecting the preborn, which means we have plenty of opportunities to demonstrate something wonderful to the world—something called unity.

Jesus said people would recognize His disciples by the love they showed to one another (John 13:35). Regardless of various doctrinal differences, personality types, and a wide range of ages, social classes, and ethnic backgrounds, God’s people are called to love and serve one another.

Here’s the lovely, two-edged truth: Pro-life work both requires and enhances unity in the Body of Christ.

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If we are to get the work done, we must labor shoulder to shoulder with other Christians, including those who may not be part of our tribe. We may not share all the same doctrinal positions. We may prefer radically different types of worship services. 

We may even get irritated with each other at times.

Unity between Christ-followers does not mean we have to enjoy sunshine and lollipops all the time. There will be challenges. There always have been. 

The point is, in Christ, we have the power to overcome our differences in order to work together for the sake of the gospel—and in our case, specifically for the cause of life.

Over the course of my ten years at a pregnancy center, I saw folks from many denominational backgrounds come together for the sake of life—Baptist, Reformed, Nazarene, Catholic, Christian Missionary Alliance, non-denominational Charismatic, and more. (And this center is rural, not urban.) 

Fundraising banquets were something I looked forward to each year, not only out of excitement for sharing client stories and seeing God move on hearts to provide for the center, but because the room would be filled with people from almost every church in town.

A pregnancy center fundraising dinner is more than a financial event—it’s the unity of the Body of Christ on display.

When brothers and sisters lay aside their differences and gather for the sake of generously giving toward the cause of life, it’s a testimony to the power of the gospel. Our behavior demonstrates something significant. 

Unity between Christians speaks powerfully to a world driven by bitterness, cynicism, and self-interest.

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This kind of unity is demonstrated day after day, week after week in pregnancy centers. People from various denominations work side by side, reaching out to distressed women and men in the community. 

God describes this kind of togetherness in Psalm 133:

“How good and pleasant it is when God’s people live together in unity! It is like precious oil poured on the head, running down on the beard, running down on Aaron’s beard, down on the collar of his robe. It is as if the dew of Hermon were falling on Mount Zion. For there the Lord bestows his blessing, even life forevermore.”

Not being ancient Jews, it may be hard for us to appreciate the beauty of oil running down the high priest’s beard. However, anointing oil had a lovely fragrance, and dew on the mountains is pleasing imagery to the beholder, whether ancient or modern. 

What God is saying here is that unity is special. It is life-giving and refreshing. It speaks of our holiness as God’s people. It announces the hope we offer the world.

Every time you meet with your staff to pray and start your day, every time you gather Christians together in your community for the cause of life, every time you help those on your team work out their differences, you bring the fragrant oil and refreshing dew of heaven to this parched earth.

Right there where you work for life, the Lord bestows His blessing of life forevermore.

Susanne Maynes

Susanne Maynes formerly served as Counseling Director at Life Choices Clinic in Lewiston, Idaho. She blogs on church and culture, spiritual growth, and Christian parenting at www.SusanneMaynes.com and is the author of Unleashing Your Courageous Compassion: 40 Reflections on Rescuing the Unborn, an educational devotional designed to help  pregnancy centers recruit volunteers, refresh staff, and refine board members’ understanding of the issues PRC clients face. Susanne is available to speak at pregnancy center fundraising banquets.

Website: www.susannemaynes.com

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