When something is ruined and broken, what do we do with it? We get rid of it and begin again with something new…right?
That may be what WE do…but thankfully, it is not what God does! Each one of us is His masterpiece! Fearfully and wonderfully made!
We have ruined His masterpiece with sin, it’s true. But God never gives up on us, no matter how much of a mess we have made of our lives up to this point! Even if we seem to be a hopeless wreck of sin…He knows we are still a work in progress. We just aren’t completed yet. And we won’t be completed…we won’t be fulfilled…until we fully surrender our lives to Him.
Fully surrendering our lives means submitting ourselves to his laws…
Yes, those ten commandments that God gave to Moses on Mt. Sinai three thousand years ago…and those commandments given to us by Jesus in the Beatitudes. These “rules” are for our own good. They don’t help God at all. He doesn’t need our help….he is actually just fine without us. But in His goodness and kindness…He gave us commandments to keep us from harming ourselves by sin. Because He loves us. And He wants the best for us. And He wants us to live with Him forever in paradise.
The debate over abortion can get complicated, can’t it? So many “talking-points” to remember when discussing the issue with those who disagree. I remember talking with my former Methodist pastor years ago, who told me that Jesus never said abortion is wrong…that Jesus cared mostly about feeding the hungry and helping the poor. I have to admit that I was rather stumped by his statement…and I didn’t come up with a very good reply. Until I remembered the commandment, “Thou shalt not kill.” Hmmm…Jesus did not come to abolish the law, but to fulfill it! I think we are safe to assume that this one still stands!
Now for today’s reports from the sidewalk…
Sue D. had the 7-9 am shift and wrote:
It was another quiet Wednesday shift. Just a handful of workers entered and no clients during our time! We were greeted by especially nasty comments from a man exactly at 7am. But God is good, cause He countered later with triple the amount of especially kind and grateful comments and gestures. A man gifted us with 3 steaming cups of hot coffee, followed by a man who gave us a monetary donation, followed by a man who had seen the 7am interaction and apologized for the disrespect!!! It was a blessing to be there and spend time praying with Peggy, SA’s Jim and Katie! Sue
Cathy reported for the 9 am- 11 am shift:
This morning was a little busier than the last two Wednesday’s, with about 5-6 clients going in, alone. There were also workers going inside. Katie and Elsie were there with me.
Cecilia took two shifts- and stood for life from 11 am- 3 pm:
The call for witnesses was answered by prayerful men and women! Sometimes the joy that is met on the sidewalk, makes me want to break into song. Two songs came to mind to us after discussions with 2 different passersby. One was Days of Elijah and the other was Overcomer. We had to break out in song!
What a blessed time on the sidewalk today! I’ll be honest, I was concerned about pulling a double in 30 degree weather. But the wind wasn’t as bad as last week. And the great company and experiences made the time go by quickly.
Once again, Joyce joined me for the trip and stayed the full 4 hours. She came equipped with snacks to hand out and joined in prayer throughout the shift. Joyce and Elsie got talking with Marissa who had much to share and is in need of prayers. She said she was pregnant and was keeping her child. Paul noticed that she needed to warm up and offered her the coat and scarf from our supply. She gladly accepted. It is nice to have that available for someone in need.
The Guardians for Life group was setting up shop when we got there and got right to work praying and singing. It is such a pleasant way to spend time on the sidewalk… having the prayers going on continually as we try to reach out to those passing by. We didn’t notice too many clients entering PP but they did have painters and workers coming and going. Before the Guardians left, Joyce and I ran over to Brueggers for a quick break and put toe warmers on for the last two hours.
When we got back to PP, the Guardians had just left when Anna Marie, from Holy Apostles, arrived. She heard the call for people to join us for the 1-3 shift and had time free for a change. We quickly found out that she has a St Joe’s connection…. Their Father Levi Hartle grew up at St Joe’s and Joyce and I know this awesome family very well. We had just started praying the rosary when SM Jeff showed up. He, too, heard the plea and came to the rescue!
We had several interesting encounters that second shift. Elijah, who recently graduated college in Oklahoma, came by on his bike on the sidewalk. He got off and told us how wrong abortion was. This handsome young man said that he was a foster child himself and was raised by good people who taught him right and wrong. He said that if people didn’t want their children, they should place them for adoption. As we spoke, I offered him different material which he said he immediately would be able to share with family or friends…chastity info for his brother, abortion healing for a friend… He was so supportive so I suggested he rally up some people to come and pray with us so we could get some young blood on the sidewalk. Before he biked off, he gave me a hug and thanked us for being there. I asked him his name and told him about “The Days of Elijah” song, one of my favorites. Then after he left, we broke out in song with the help of YouTube!
Soon after, a man in his 20’s stopped and shared how he and his girlfriend found themselves pregnant. But instead of abortion, they chose to place their child for open adoption. They now stay in contact by receiving pictures of their child and were very happy with their decision. It was a decision everyone could live with! He took resources and I encouraged him to share their story.
Last weekend I was surprised to learn that Lisa K had watched the same video that my husband and I watched, “Priceless”. Highly recommended! Priceless was a real life story about women who get caught up in sex trafficking. The movie was very tastefully done and was a big eye opener to this horror happening all around us. I vowed to become more aware of the issue and wondered how our ministry might be impacted. Anyhow, today God sent a Maureen to us. At first she spoke generally about how, even though she thought abortion wasn’t right, she didn’t think it was right for kids to be brought up in bad neighborhoods or family environments and being forced to be involved with things (drugs…) that they wouldn’t choose otherwise. We came to learn that, when younger, she was sent to truck stops and exploited. She didn’t get into details and is fortunately doing much better now that she is in her 40’s. She is at a point where she is working with a group that ministers to others. We told her that God took something awful and is using her to help those in need. But she still needs prayers for other issues that have come up that “scare” her that seem to be linked with her past so please keep Maureen in prayer. When she walked off, Jeff came up with a song that described her well, “Overcomer”, so we broke out in song again!
That last shift went by so fast. We were warmed by the sun, the encounters and the vigil participants who heard the call to join with us. When SM Barbara and Richard arrived for their shift, SM Joe from the last Wed shift also arrived to represent his church for 4 hours! How blessed I was to meet all the SM for the day except the early warrior, Sue! You early and late comers have my admiration! I think of you on the cold, wet or windy days and you inspire me to get through whatever we face in the middle of the day when it is often warmer and the sun is up. God bless you all! And I pray that SM Chris had a nice day off on the ski slopes and arrives back in one piece next Wed.
Barbara wrote from the 3- 5 shift:
Sunny, blue skies and good company.When we arrived at PP this afternoon we were greeted by Cil, Joyce and Jeff. After a four hour witness, they were ready to hand the sidewalk over to us.Corpus Christi Parish, McKeesport, had signed up to provide prayer cover for 40 Days for Life for the 3 to 7 hours.Joe, shift manager and Corpus Christi parishioner arrived promptly at 3. Soon after, his lovely wife came and remained to pray for most of the shift.Father Stephen Palsa joined us and led us in a Rosary, the Luminous Mysteries.The pleasant company and weather were so unusual and welcome.
Joe wrote from the 5-7 shift:
“Gentle on My Mind” seemed to be theme for me today…
It started off hearing an interview of a woman who’s conversion story from life in a “hate group” where “gentleness” in dialogue were the seeds for a change of heart…
Being semi-familiar with this John Hartford song made famous by Glen Campbell I took a closer look at the lyrics and was astounded how they spoke to what we literally and figuratively “face” at 933 Liberty Ave:
It’s knowin’ that your door is always open
And your path is free to walk…
The shift started and ended quietly as I was the lone remnant of the Corpus Christi contingent that had participated earlier – Thanks again to Fr. Steve and Lynda for making a special effort to be there today!!!
The majority of the shift was spent in quiet reflection, prayer and people watching…with an occasional brief greeting / acknowledgement sprinkled-in to those passerby’s that seemed open to it…
Fact is, an overwhelming majority of comments from passerby’s were positive… One kind soul passed by and said that he was praying for us, another person, that didn’t even pass by, but went out of their way to backtrack came up to me to thank us for being there and said he understood that this wasn’t easy…
But as folks hustled home from work as did the sun, “Darkness, Darkness” set in (at least a bit)…
One of my friends gave me the often familiar, always unimaginative, salute… Another driveby, one of the usuals (that I hadn’t seen since last fall) suggested that I should reproduce with myself adding-in for style points, and I quote, “you Christian Jihadist”…
It was “easy” to think of “gentleness” when the good comments / gestures came, but the true test was with the “un’s” (i.e., unkind, uninformed,…). I’m comfortable this evening knowing that gentleness WAS on my mind and heart…