By Father Erich Zwingert, Rector- The following was part of Fr. Erich’s weekly newsletter to parishioners.
Dearly Beloved- There are times when we, as Christian people, feel great despair regarding the state of affairs in our nation.
The recent decision by the State of New York to allow abortion up to the moment of birth certainly should pop to the top of our “despair” list.
However, when we consider what has preceded it, since the time of Roe v. Wade, it is a logical outcome. If we do not believe that human life begins at conception, the point in time indicated when God said to Jeremiah, “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you,” then that thing that is there does not have value, so then it is perfectly okay to root it out. Then we get into spurious debates over when does human life begin, when does that “blob of tissue” have value.
The State of Iowa last week passed a law that restricts abortion once the heartbeat of the child is detected. Many people applauded this, in the wake of New York’s decision. I say, “Nice try Iowa, but no cigar!” The only difference I see between Iowa and New York is timing…both allow abortion.
My office in the church, as your priest and rector, is to be to you, and the world around us, a “Messenger, Watchman, and Steward of the Lord (BCP, p. 539).” With that solemn responsibility in mind, I must be clear. Abortion is wrong, it is evil, it is diabolical. It is, in one short word, murder. Human beings are created in the image and likeness of God.
Humanity lost its likeness to God at the Fall but we still bear his image. Murder is the destruction of that image and that is precisely what abortion does. It destroys the image of God. There is no other way to look at it for anyone who is a disciple of Christ.
So how do we respond and confront this dastardly practice in our country? Do not begin by pointing fingers. This is not a Democrat vs. a Republican thing. It is not a conservative vs. a liberal thing. No matter your political leanings, and lets be completely honest with ourselves here, have we all done everything in our power to stop this crime against God…this sin? How then do we rectify matters, how should we act as disciples of Christ?
What comes to mind here for me is the Conversion of St. Paul. Paul is knocked to the ground and hears Jesus saying to him, “Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?” That persecution that Jesus speaks of is Paul “breathing threats and murder against the disciples.”
The story goes on to tell us that Paul was blinded. He did not see what he had done. Then comes along a man named Ananias, a disciple of the Lord. The Lord sends Ananias to Paul, to pray for him and lay hands upon him, that Paul may truly come to know God and see His plan for him and the world. Ananias did as the Lord commanded and “immediately something like scales fell from his eyes and he regained his sight.” And the rest is, as they say, history.
We all, then, are called to be Ananias in confronting the persecution of abortion. We must pray fervently and without ceasing that the scales may fall from the eyes of those who support abortion in any way, shape, or form. We must pray that they too, like Paul, would be filled with the Holy Spirit.
We must pray that they come to know God and His Christ. We must pray that they too would become disciples of Christ to then, in turn, allow others to see God’s plan for themselves and the rest of the world.
Father Erich Zwingert, Rector, All Saints Anglican Church
Mills River, NC
Father Erich arrived as the 6th Rector (senior pastor) of All Saints in April of 2013. He is a native of New York and was raised in Pennsylvania. He graduated from high school in Charlotte, NC and holds a Bachelor’s degree from Pfeiffer University. He attended Nashotah House Seminary in Wisconsin and received his Master of Divinity, cum laude.