By: Jojo Ruba
One of the most beloved stories about the life of Jesus starts with His disciples ignoring children. Parents were trying to bring their children to Jesus so that He could bless them but were stopped by the disciples.
The gospel writers never fully explain why they do this. Perhaps they thought Jesus was too busy or too important to lower Himself to deal with children. In their culture, childrearing would have been a woman’s job, not the job of a well-known teacher claiming to be the Messiah. Regardless, the excuse wasn’t even important enough to be recorded by the gospel writers.
What the gospel writers instead focus on is what Jesus says in response to the children. He not only indignantly rebukes the disciples’ actions but says that we all need faith like a child to enter into God’s kingdom.
Though commentators often focus on the children in this story, the incident is really about God. The disciples thought Jesus wouldn’t want to bother with children, but He taught them the opposite: that God’s kingdom is about reaching out to the lowliest souls and redeeming them. In fact, that’s why Jesus’ was there, to show how far God was willing to lower Himself to save people like those children.
I can’t help think about that story as we mark the 25th anniversary of the Supreme Court decision called the Morgentaler Decision. It is the court case that struck down any legal protections for preborn children in Canada. The justices did this expecting Parliament to create a more nuanced law about abortion. But because of politics, a law was never passed.
Canada then, is the only Western country where abortion is legal throughout all nine months of pregnancy for any reason or no reason at all. In fact, 100 000 Canadian women a year take advantage of this lawlessness and choose abortion.
I know mentioning this anniversary troubles many Christians. None of us like abortion and if pushed, we’d say we were opposed to it. But it clearly hasn’t been a priority for the majority of us. With so many other issues we have to deal with as a church and with so many other societal problems, very few of us have time to deal with it.
But I think what troubles us most is that we know we should be doing more. We don’t want to face the question that comes with this anniversary: how is it possible that our country has had no legal protections for a whole class of people for twenty-five years? Worse, what have Christians been doing for those years to protect those children?
That’s why we need to remember that incident with Jesus and the disciples. He made it clear that we should never be too busy or too important to deal with the concerns of children. The very kingdom that we share and speak up for is built on the simple idea that God extends His great love to the lowliest people.
Now some will argue that abortion isn’t a spiritual issue or at the very least not an apologetics one. It is simply a political or social issue that doesn’t address spiritual concerns.
But Jesus could have said that about blessing those children too. These children were not His concern – adults like their parents were or the many people He was teaching. Yet Jesus never mentions the parents in the story and instead takes the time to be with their children, showing how willing He was to make them a priority.
In doing so, He showed that often, the very people we ignore are the very ones He wants us to reach out to; the very concerns that we think aren’t as essential are the ones we need to tackle.
In fact, for apologists, dealing with abortion allows us to face two of the most important apologetic issues we face today: 1. Is there objective right and wrong? and 2. Do human beings have objective value? Opening up the abortion debate allows us to educate others about these truths.
More importantly, being willing to tackle this issue reminds us that at the heart of our mission is still God’s great love for people. We cannot ignore the hundreds of Canadian lives lost every day because God doesn’t ignore them.
As we mark this sad anniversary, the question we as Christians need to ask, is how many more anniversaries have to pass before we stop making excuses about why we ignore Canada’s children?
For info on what you can do to make abortion unthinkable, visit endthekilling.ca