“For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place. When I was woven together in the depths of the earth, your eyes saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be,” Psalm 139:13-16.

Two weeks ago, my family and I visited Washington, D.C. There is so much to do and see. We visited as many Smithsonian museums and memorials that we could in the amount time that we had and the amount of strength in our legs. I haven’t been there for twenty five years. This was my first time seeing the Korean Conflict Memorial and it was just as impressive as all the rest. Seeing it at night, there was an eerie silence as we looked upon the soldiers marching through the foliage, most likely to their death. As you walk around the mall of the memorials and Arlington National Cemetery, you are almost transported to all the battles and sacrifices these soldiers made for us. Over 1.1 million Americans gave up their lives in all the battles from the Revolutionary War up to today and the war against terrorism. 1.1 million lives gone. It seems like a large number.

We were visiting Washington D.C., not for a walking tour of the memorials, but to march to remember and speak for the ones who are usually forgotten and have no voice. We were there for the anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the March for Life, forty five years after our Supreme Court said that it is legal to take innocent lives through abortion. If you thought losing 1.1 million lives over the past 250 years to U.S. battles is striking, that is approximately how many children are aborted every year in our nation. In fact, since January 22, 1973, over 60 million babies have been aborted and over 1.5 billion have been worldwide.

But today, we don’t even hear arguments over when life begins. There are no more heated debates over the unborn baby’s rights versus the mother’s rights. Instead there is an eerie silence as the act of taking innocent life seems to go unnoticed. But this cannot be. This is an atrocity of humanity.

What will you do? Will you march? Will you speak to your representatives in Washington D.C.? Will you speak to your children and grandchildren? Will you be a voice in your community? I know we cannot sit by and do nothing and let silence prevail. Consider a passage that you may know by heart: God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but will have eternal life. John 3:16

God said that the lives of all people are so precious that he would give his Son’s life for ours and for all, no matter an embryo, fetus, baby, child or adult. He gives us life to come to know him and his grace in Jesus and be saved. The love and sacrifice of Jesus also encourages us that God will take care of us, even in times of fear or uncertainty in pregnancy. He will care for us as we make decisions to retain life instead of take life. And that same love and sacrifice is also strong enough to forgive those who have had or performed abortions. This is our Savior who says life is a gift from him and he alone has the right to terminate it. His love and strength moves us to live for him.

In the time that it took me to write this article 3,ooo babies have been aborted in the world. Now is the time to speak up for life, for those we don’t usually think about and those who can’t speak for themselves. Life is a precious gift from God. It is the gift that you have received and enjoy, a gift to return thanks to Jesus, who lived and died for your sins. Keep Christ First!

The Rev. Chris Christenson is pastor at First Evangelical Lutheran Church in La Crescent.