Indifference, hatred, cold: Support, fellowship, hope
These are just a few of the emotions which I had the joy of experiencing this past Sunday, as interim Vigil Shift Manager for 40 Days for Life, in front of the Planned Parenthood on Liberty Avenue.
This day I was greatly Blessed by meeting at least 20 new people and having anywhere from 2 to 8 people at a time join me anywhere from 5 minutes to 4 hours; some stayed with me the entire shift so I would not have to stand there all alone. I had the wonderful opportunity to pray with, ruminate with and sing common songs of worship with so many wonderful Christians from Three Rivers Assembly of God, Faith Community Church of Penn Hills, and nine area Catholic Churches.
It was very cold and damp (the sun never seems to shine on Liberty Avenue!) My day started when a man came out of his way to stomp on a 40 Days for Life poster I had dropped at the very moment I arrived at the Vigil. It wasn’t his mean-spiritedness that bothered me so much as his seeming indifference; we were invisible to this man. There were a few other unfriendly and derogatory comments made by passersby, but it was the seeming indifference of the majority that was most disturbing to me. But each time the darkness tried to slither in, the Light immediately stomped on and overcame it. For each negative moment, there was immeasurably more positive moments of support by way of kindly comments and friendly car horn toots; fellow citizens saying we stand with and pray with you.
Did we serve God in anyway to be out there yesterday? Certainly private and one-on-one prayer to our Lord is as effective – likely even more effective – to bring about the end of abort*on in our country, than a public peaceful presence petitioning, worshipping and witnessing our Lord. But from a selfish standpoint, had I stayed home praying I would sadly have been deprived of so closely witnessing the Light obliterate the darkness. I would have been deprived of meeting, praying with and singing hymns with some wonderfully devout Catholics, and I would have been deprived of the unifying experience of witnessing and singing common songs of praise with my delightfully spiritual Protestant brothers and sisters. I am grateful to God for this experience, and I praise Him for saving 253 babies so far this Lenten Campaign!