9th July 2017

Letter from the Pastor

‘… thou hast covered me in my mother's womb. I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made’

Psalm 139:13-14

The name Charlotte Church is one that is just about known to me, but I must confess that my knowledge of this lady is very scant. I know she is a singer, that she is Welsh, and that she has strong political views regarding which she has often appeared in the media. However, only this past week Charlotte Church appeared in the media for quite different reasons: she had lost the child she was carrying – after only having announced that she was expecting a matter of weeks before.
Many prospective new mothers have gone through what Charlotte Church has gone through: a deep vale of sorrow and pain which I can barely begin to imagine; having her joys and expectations raised one moment, but then dashed and devastated the next. We, who look on, should have the greatest sympathy for her and all who go through such heartbreak and anguish.
But as I read in the media of how Charlotte Church had lost her baby, I was struck by the sheer hypocrisy of the reporting of this in the press, who, when a miscarriage occurs – as in this particular case, write of an unborn ‘baby’ being lost – but when they are busy promoting abortion, no mention of babies – only foetuses. And, if you follow the debate closely, you will see that the foetuses are written and spoken of as being nothing more than part of the woman’s body – over which she must have the right to choose – whether to keep that ‘part’, or to discard that ‘part’ of ‘her own body’.
The verse above is from Psalm 139 – a wonderful reassuring psalm which has helped many a saint over the centuries. It speaks of how God, in perfect detail, sees and knows us, wherever we should be, whatever we should be doing. But the relevant part here is that David the psalmist speaks of how God knew him, even before he was born – when he was being knit together in his ‘mother’s womb’. So the Bible here, and in other places, is clearly indicating that life does not begin with birth, but life begins with conception. So it was most correctly reported that Miss Church tragically lost her baby – not that she lost a foetus, or a part of herself.
What is more, approaching the question from a scientific angle, I read, most helpfully, once in a magazine, of how 7 days after conception, the mother’s immune system starts to attack the child within; the 7th day being the point when the new life attaches itself to the womb and starts to draw nutrients from the mother’s blood stream. The mother’s immune system attacks the child within recognising that the child is NOT part of the mother’s body. However, most wonderfully and wisely, in God’s creation of women, on the 6th day, an enzyme kicks in to protect the unborn child, neutralising the effects of the mother’s immune system’s attack just 1 day before! Fearfully and wonderfully made indeed!
In this day and age children are perceived and loved as the most vulnerable group of our society. How the press plays on our emotions when they are abused, injured, fall sick or die. But as we think about these things, there is another group even more vulnerable: a hidden group, totally helpless and unable to defend themselves – that of the unborn child. In the UK, last year, there were nearly 200,000 ‘terminations’ – that amounts to little more than genocide. Nationally we have innocent blood dripping from our hands.
Recently there have been increasing calls for the 24 week limit to be cut to 22 or even 20. With babies born at that early point, with sufficient care and the advances made in medical science, these tiny, tiny infants eventually come to leave their incubators and begin life at home. Seeing these things have been so, how dis-appointing that the BMA, only last week, took the retrograde decision to start lobbying the government to decriminalise abortion altogether.
As Christians we need to speak out about these things – these atrocities, on the one hand, but on the other, we must be ready and on hand to reach out with the love of God in Jesus Christ in the Gospel. That Christ Jesus came in to the world to save sinners; that we can know all our sins pardoned through His great Calvary work, when He bore those sins and their penalty, for us who believe. Be ready to reach out to those who have taken the fearful step of aborting their own baby’s life, and feel deep-down terribly guilty in their conscience. Be ready to point them to the Saviour who has died that even those awful sins may be washed away. Isaiah the prophet, speaking to his own nation Judah, rebukes them telling them ‘your hands are full of blood’; but then the very next sentence he gives hope, ‘wash you, make you clean… though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow’ How precious is that verse that tells believers: ‘If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness’.

Pastor Paul Ackerley