The Dignity of Life

October 7, 2018

As we begin pro-life month, we gather to realize as a faith community we respect the dignity of all human life from the moment of conception until the moment of natural death.  The journey of life is a special gift.  The challenge faced by our young people has been close to my heart lately.  How life seems tragic to the point of suicide among young people is alarming to me.   According to the Parent Resource Program of the Jason Foundation, suicide is the second leading cause of death for children and youth ages 10-24.  According to their research, more teens die from suicide than cancer, heart disease, AIDS, birth defects, stroke, pneumonia, influenza, and chronic lung disease combined.  These numbers break my heart.  Life as precious as it is, life as wondrous as it can be, has found itself being taken long before God longs for it to happen.  From the program Thirteen Reasons Why to bullying on Snap Chat and social media, many young people have not found a way to survive in the spiral of depression that at times becomes overwhelming.  At a young age, life seems like something not worth living for them.  As we gather for another month in which we pray and bring life issues to the forefront, new avenues to reach our young people must become a priority.  At a time when we remind ourselves about being pro-life, new energy must be found to seek the preservation of life for our teens.  Their decision to take their own lives at alarming rates must be a thunderous outcry to us.

To be pro-life, we must find out when the sanctity of life is so easily lost on this generation.  From gun violence in cities, to drugs being used as an escape from the reality of life and its pain, our definition of the pro-life movement must march forward with an awareness of our teens who feel life is too overwhelming to even want to live it.  The wonder and awe, the preciousness of life is lost on them in the moment.  As pro-lifers, we must address this. We must live in a way in which we share the pain and struggle and the ability to persevere through even the worst storms because we know God.  Our witness is the breath that can give life.

May we commit ourselves with a new resolve to look at life issues facing our teens in such a way that we become a place of refuge, and nonjudgmental acceptance for those who need a breath of fresh air.

May God renew the wonder of life in all of us,

Reverend John J. Ouper