“One human life is worth more than all the treasures of the earth.” ~Seth Adam Smith
Now the word of the Lord came to me saying, “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you,and before you were born I consecrated you; I appointed you a prophet to the nations.”(Jeremiah 1:4-5 | NRSV)
I chose not to post this on national Sanctity of Human Life Sunday, simply because for me, everyday is such. I was adopted as an infant, which means I take the sanctity of life personally. The debate and divide widening in this country should be absurd to all, but is especially so to those of us who were given a second chance. I will likely never meet the woman who birthed me, but were I to do so I would thank her for her courage in going through with the whole ordeal. Had those same circumstances taken place in a more recent era, I would likely have never seen the light of day, much less been allowed the full range of trials and triumphs that come with being human. Life is sacred, and those charged with embracing or discarding it hold a sacred trust, whether they want it or not. At the risk of coming across as arrogant to my feminist friends, I concede everyone has the right to choose–abstinence or contraception. A woman’s rights end when the unborn child’s rights begin, and that is at conception. Pro-life advocates recognize both the mother’s life and the unborn child’s life as equally sacred. To violate that sacred trust is to cease to be human.
While living in northwest India, I was mesmerized by the lifestyle of a Hindu sect known as Jains. Jain Dharma is an ancient Indian religious group whose central tenets are non-violence and respect towards all living beings. In fact, they hold all life so sacred that they go to extremes in efforts to prevent harming any living thing. The most devout wear a mask to keep from ingesting an insect, and they sweep in front of them as they walk to prevent stepping on any creature. While I am not promoting such practice, we could do with a healthy dose of such reverence for those who bear the imagio dei, the image of God. “Whoever sheds the blood of a human,by a human shall that person’s blood be shed; for in his own imageGod made humankind” (Genesis 9:6 | NRSV). When will the madness end? Who will lay aside all argument for convenience and hold a life that encapsulates eternity in flesh? Hear well the declaration of Mother Teresa: “It is a poverty to decide that a child must die so that you may live as you wish.” I was given a chance to love and lose, succeed and fail, serve and be served, all because someone chose not to choose. Thank God, and thank her for such an indescribable gift.