Thus says the LORD:
This is what I commanded my people:
Listen to my voice;
then I will be your God and you shall be my people.
Walk in all the ways that I command you,
so that you may prosper.
But they obeyed not, nor did they pay heed.
They walked in the hardness of their evil hearts
and turned their backs, not their faces, to me.
AND SO…. maybe the Lord said, “That’s IT! I’ve had it! Take vengeance on one another for my sake!” Hm… no, I’m pretty sure He said, “Vengeance is MINE.” And yet…. concerning the above passage, Our Lord does NOT take vengeance on us here. This is what He says instead:
Even now, says the LORD,
return to me with your whole heart,
for I am gracious and merciful.
This afternoon, Rush Limbaugh, popular conservative radio talk show host, said this on his show: “The problem is that vengeance never provides closure. Everybody thinks that vengeance, revenge, is going to provide closure, and it never does.”
Whether you are a fan of Rush or not, hopefully these words ring true or you as well. But I sat, listening to those words and thinking, “Well, I agree…. But what DOES provide closure, then?” And the answer came from the Lord to my heart in the next second: FORGIVENESS. Well, isn’t that interesting… “Forgiveness” just happens to be this campaign’s theme. The Lord wants us to forgive as He forgives US. And all of you post-abortive men and women reading this now… forgive yourselves as well. And come to the Lord. He waits with His loving arms open wide. See that passage above from Joel? It’s not a joke; it’s for real.
Shift Manager Reports:
Shift Manager Marian’s report:A big shout out and thank you to Lisa M., from St. Bernadette’s Church, for reading the blog and seeing I would be alone on the sidewalk today. We prayed, we shared some of our life stories, and witnessed together! What a blessing. Lisa made my day.The sidewalk seemed very friendly today. Co-workers, pedestrians, students and business people walk by on the early shifts. Expressions of support through thumbs up and thank yous were given. Jim, a regular supporter, Deacon Ken, and Matt all stopped to talk and offer support and to take information. A Catholic deacon, Ken, a consultant during the week, ministers in his out-of-state parish, on weekends. Matt’s thoughts are that we do live in the most violent times and that people are naïve to think otherwise. Bill stopped by, too, to pray with Elaine (early arrival for 9:00 shift) and me.As I was standing alone during the earliest part of the shift, “What would you do for a Klondike Bar?” commercial came to mind. So I formed the question: “What would you be willing to walk by?” I did ask a few people who responded “Yes” when I asked if they would answer a question. I asked: Would you walk by someone being lynched? Would you walk by someone being raped? Would you walk by someone being killed? Would you walk by a child being assaulted? Would you walk by a dog who had gotten hit by a car? (Rhetorical- no audible response was necessary- and not all questions were asked to each person.) Then I asked, “Are you aware that this is an abortion clinic, and that children are killed in there daily?” The eyes tell the story. Each person took information.A woman, as she was walking up to the area, took a good look at the signs that say, “Women Do Regret Abortion” (http://silentnomoreawareness.org/). (I have seen her walk by before. Today she shared.) She personally had more than one abortion, and said she did not regret them, based on the circumstances of her life when she was in her twenties. She had no support and felt desperate at the time. She says she has no regrets to this day but pulled out a book about healing. She told me that the circumstances (not detailed) were such that she never thought it could have happened to her. We had a lovely conversation. She is still hurting. I asked her if she would have had an abortion if support had been there. She was non-committal to the question (but it is hard for anyone to say, looking back some 30 years later, what one would have done differently. We can’t turn back time. We have to live with our decisions.) I acknowledged that she was still hurting (to her) and she took information on Rachael’s Vineyard. She told me she is always researching. She also took the resource guide.Standing on the corner, watching all the souls walk by. Prayers for all the people who walked by my corner today. We don’t know the hurts people have experienced. When Lisa and I were sharing, we both acknowledged that during times in our lives, we have received support which helped us through the dark tunnels- and in like token, were able to offer support to others. Lisa said that she didn’t know how much she helped someone in her workplace until the person acknowledged it. We may never know the impact- but standing on the sidewalk is worth the effort- no matter what.Marian
Shift Manager Ginny’s report and photo:With the St. Mary’s group during the second shift today, we leafleted and prayed.From Ginny
Shift Manager Marilyn shared this photo from her shift:
Shift Manager Lisa’s (my) report:
The weather was so incredibly beautiful. I was wrapped in the embrace of God’s love (through the warm sunshine!) for over an hour of my shift!! Thank You, Lord!!
While there were quite a few positive comments and words of encouragement, it seems that if my shift had a theme today, it would have been “Compassion.” The Lord has such compassion on us. And I was blessed to be able to experience a tiny bit of that compassion on others all around me today.
Let me share this first. There is a sad trend among some young people today, of “cutting.” This means that these people literally cut their skin intentionally, because the pain they feel inside is so hard to deal with that they manifest their pain on the outside. This reached a new level for me as I stood at the vigil today.
Some brief background: my husband and I were talking about tattoos recently, and how perhaps SOME (not all) people’s desire for a tattoo may be a manifestation of an inner need to be recognized, or may relate an inner hurt in an outer way. Well, this afternoon, I saw a young black man walk past me, with a small tattoo on his face. It was undecipherable at first, but as he got closer, I saw that two small teardrops were tattooed beneath the right side of his right eye… as though his tears that he sheds regularly inside are now visible to everyone all the time. It made me so sad.
My point is this: people need love and compassion. We need to recognize the hurts that people in our own city are going through, and be a conduit of Christ’s love for them.
One final story, speaking of people in our own city. A black man walked by with a t-shirt that pictured Mr. Rogers on the front with these words around the picture: “It’s All Good… In the Hood.” The man also wore a Steeler jacket. Noticing how “Pittsburgh” both of these things were, I just had a moment of joyous love for all of the people in our city. I love Pittsburgh, and part of the reason is the good people. We must always show these people the love and mercy of Jesus Christ. They need to be shown that forgiveness and new life can be theirs.
Shift Manager Jeannie shared these photos… and the group during her shift came all the way from Steubenville, OH! Thank you all! And thank you to Pastor Bryan, who stayed for such a long time again today! God bless you!
Shift Manager Rick’s Report:The 5–7 PM shift today (3/12/15) was prayerful and peaceful. Special thanks to the dedicated and prayerful pro-life group (Will, Martha, Kathy, Joan, John Anthony and Timothy) from the Triumph of the Cross Church in Steubenville, Ohio. We prayed the rosary together and John Anthony and Timothy (a 9th and a 6th grader) did a great job in leading the Stations of the Cross. Please keep our daughter, Maria, in your prayers. She went to the midwife center today and is expecting her baby to be born very soon and to be greeted by her sons Kolbe, Andrew, and Isaac.
News flash! This just in from Rick on Friday morning:We have a granddaughter! After seven years and 10 grandsons in a row, Maria gave birth to a girl, and everyone is doing well. Therese Mary was born Thursday evening at 7:30 pm…….7 lbs. 7 oz., and mom and baby are doing well…..PRAISE GOD!!Take care and God Bless!Rick