I grew up in rural Tennessee where people were sparse, amenities were slim, but love abounded. This love was illustrated on a regular basis by my grandma. I could share story after story of her love for me, but one instance that stands out above the rest was joining her for Sunrise Service every Easter. We would, begrudgingly, get up before the sun, put on our Sunday best, and join her and my grandad for worship in a small country church that saw its attendance numbers double on that special Sunday every spring. I can still hear her voice today singing those classic hymns that populated so much of my childhood. One such hymn is, “Come Thou Fount.”
The lyrics of this song, written in 1758, still ring true today. There is one particular line in this hymn that has permeated my thoughts, in light of the Supreme Court’s ruling on June 24, 2022, that saw Roe finally overturned. Here I raise my Ebenezer…these words, however simple, carry a great deal of weight as they reference the prophet Samuel’s raising an Ebenezer to recognize God’s grace and mercy on His people. So, how does this line from a centuries old hymn and a reference to an Old Testament passage connect with June 24, 2022? Samuel’s commemoration of this moment wasn’t a throwaway action to act as a placeholder for a short time. Instead, this action was designed to honor God and to show generations just how good and gracious the Father was to His people in their time of need.
I am sure, if we take the time, we can all pinpoint our own Ebenezer moments where we recognize God’s goodness and desire to leave markers for those that come after us to see those moments in the same way we see them. This is why I believe that the overturning of one of the most wrongheaded and destructive court decisions in the history of our country is an Ebenezer moment for the Church. We have an opportunity to let generations know of what God did through the work of his people’s consistent prayer, advocacy, and service.
These Ebenezer moments are a reminder to all that live, serve, and worship in states that continue to see abortion as the norm. It is not lost on me that I get to live, serve, and worship in a state that ended lawful abortions in 2022. The raising of our Ebenezer doesn’t immediately signal that all is well or problems won’t still arise. The prophet Samuel wasn’t signaling to God’s people that all was well and life would be easy from here on out. Instead, he was encouraging them to take a moment, no matter how brief, to recognize God’s intervention on their behalf. The storms would still come and the memories of hard days gone by would still linger, but the recognition of God’s goodness in that moment would set a trajectory, for those that would come later, that God’s grace is ever present and a source of life in the good and, yes, even in the bad times.
A court ruling in the summer of 2022 isn’t the end goal, but it is a marker and a giant first step to a United States where abortion is unthinkable, undesired, and non-existent. So, we raise our Ebenezer today, but we continue our service tomorrow. We can do this with confidence knowing that the God that was ever present in the days of Samuel is ever present with me and you today. And, just as we look to the Ebenezer Samuel raised all those years ago; our kids, grandkids, and great grandkids will look back at 2022 in the same way as life saw a victory when victory seemed out of reach.
Andrew Wood Senior Executive Director of Church Engagement at Care Net and Pro-life Author and Speaker