God’s Message at the Day of Mourning: You Are My Church

The Day of Mourning event took place in Albany, New York, on Feb. 23 in response to the church's outcry over New York's recent abortion law. In three weeks, Elizabeth Johnston and others organized the gathering. 3,000 people attended in Albany and 34,000 watched the live stream. Johnston said in a email that she will be visiting more cities calling more people to repentance. God's message to me, and I think to the whole gathering, was to affirm our identity as His church, His bride, and our call to partner with His heart.

By Aliya Kuykendall Published on February 28, 2019

Am I standing in the gap? Have I been the Good Samaritan to the preborn? Have I been connected to God’s heart for the vulnerable? Not really, I realized at the Day of Mourning in Albany last Saturday. It was a heavy realization, but God answered me with grace.

The Weight of Responsibility

Elizabeth Johnston, a.k.a. The Activist Mommy, kicked off the event by explaining the urgency of repenting for the sin of abortion. Phil King and Cody Ray Lee then started leading the group in worship.

Johnston came back up in the middle of the worship and reminded those gathered of what was taking place. “The Lord said he would spare a city for five righteous people. We are in the gap for America right now,” she said.

I think it would please the Lord if we could start that song again and we could take a humble posture before the Lord and ask Him to have mercy on us. For our vile vile evil murderous ways. We’ve been monsters! Absolute monsters. God we don’t deserve Your mercy, we deserve nothing but judgement, and God, we are standing in the gap right now like Moses, like Esther, and we are pleading with you to have mercy on our bloodstained land.

Later she clarified the weight of responsibility further. An email she’d gotten said, “I don’t have anything to repent of. I’ve never had an abortion.” Abortion is not simply a sin that certain people or parties have committed or promoted, she said. It’s a national sin Christians have largely been complacent in fighting.

“We as God’s people have not been the Good Samaritan,” she told him. “We have not rescued our neighbor. We have not loved our neighbor. We have been complicit in this murder, and that is why we must own this and repent. Churches silent — pastors silent — on this issue. We’ve got to own this. Will you own it today? Lord, we cry out to you to have mercy on our land. Heal our land.”

People cried out and wept.

More than a Bystander

I wanted to do more than analyze the event as a bystander. To report only as an observer. I came not only as a journalist, but a daughter of God. Should I raise my hands in worship while wearing my press pass? I did.

I closed my eyes and told God: I want to make You proud. I want to connect with Your heart. I want to be doing Your work when Jesus comes again like a thief in the night. I’m sorry that I haven’t felt the grief you feel for the preborn. I’m sorry that I haven’t been fighting alongside You.

As I lifted my hands up, I felt His pleasure over me. He affirmed my identity in Him. God reminded me that as a member of His church, I am Jesus’ bride. He wants me to partner with Him.

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His church is a bride who He wants to stand by his side, stay connected to His heart, and fight the battles that He fights alongside Him.

The weight of responsibility is heavy. But in turning to God there is hope, mercy and identity.

We are God’s Church

I think that moment for me communicates the heart of the event. We cannot be observing bystanders. We cannot cast aside responsibility. We are God’s church.

Through God’s grace, we can be the answer to a culture who turns to abortion as a solution. We can love.

God created adoption when He adopted us as His children.

God is family: Father. Son. Holy Spirit.

Jesus gave His life in self-sacrificing love, and commands us to love others with the same kind of love.

To Lay Down Our Lives

As I thought about these truths, a song called “Love Makes Us Strong” ran through my mind repeatedly. These lines could have been an anthem for the event:

We are the church.
We are the bride.
Love Makes us strong
To lay down our lives.

As the event proceeded, speakers gave glimpses of what laying down our lives can look like.

The Benham Brothers shared how they overcame fear and refused to be silent on abortion, losing their HGTV show deal but choosing to stand for the weak anyway. Justin Reeder, Founder of Love Life Charlotte, shared how his ministry prays at abortion clinics and has seen the rate of abortions in their area go down.

Reeder brought onto the stage one woman that Love Life reached. She canceled her abortion at the last minute and shared her newfound joy in motherhood and community. She said that through a baby shower she received everything her baby needs for the first two years of life.

“Nehemiah’s time has come and gone. Esther’s time has come and gone,” Reeder said. “It’s you. I’m looking at the bride.”

Time to Start

I’ve never lost something I wanted because of being an outspoken advocate for life. I’ve never prayed at an abortion clinic before. I’ve never helped someone adopt or care for their infant. I hadn’t cried over abortion before. But I know now that it’s time to start. Jesus wants me to join with Him in loving people and laying down my life.

It will be inconvenient. It will require a commitment to seeking God’s heart so we can stay motivated to love. But we cannot stand by and watch. He’s calling us to stand faithfully with Him as our Bridegroom, partner with Him, and engage in His fight.

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