Remember Archie Bunker’s chair? Those of us who recall the award-winning TV series, “All in the Family,” and its iconic lead character are immediately aware that a piece of rather plain furniture had its own starring role in the sitcom that ran from 1971 through 1979. The chair was Archie’s personal, private, no-one-else-allowed place to sit, and his lack of tolerance for anyone else sitting in it was obvious. His physical and emotional reactions whenever anyone else had the audacity to violate that special space added a unique dimension to the brand of comedy that left an enduring imprint on the nation. The chair was much more than a stage prop, and its role was such an indelible part of the culture during those years that it remains on display at the National Museum of American History in Washington, DC.
A Sanctified Chair?
Those of us who watched “All in the Family” may not have thought of Archie’s chair as “sanctified,” but that’s precisely what it was. And it was in that sense that the chair represented the central concept that formed the basis for the series. The producers wanted to assail various ideas and practices that were considered off-limits and to use comedy as a means of stripping away their restricted status and publicly violating them. They didn’t use the word “sanctified,” but they showed week after week what it meant. Perhaps it’s not coincidental that our Supreme Court ruled on the case of Roe vs. Wade and made abortion legal as Archie’s chair was becoming a national symbol of a sanctified space being violated.
We might have laughed as the program’s characters made fun of familiar institutions and crossed lines that formerly had been forbidden, but the sanctification issue that arose during its tenure, and that remains before us today, is no laughing matter. It’s mind-numbing and heartbreaking to realize that since 1973, we have slaughtered over 58 million babies and continue to kill them at a rate of over 3500 a day.
A Vitally Important Day ~
Since 1984, the third Sunday in January has been designated as “Sanctity of Human Life Sunday” and is preceded annually by the national “March for Life” in Washington, DC and typically marked by a variety of special meetings and gatherings across America designed to raise awareness of the plague that abortion represents. We applaud every courageous servant of God who stands this week on behalf of the most oppressed group in our country and who offers encouragement to all the heroic men and women who devote their lives to saving innocent, unborn babies from the homicidal clutches of abortionists.
But if we separate abortion from the attitudes and behaviors that always precede it, then we are doing little more than putting a band-aid on an underlying malignancy. The decision to show up at the abortion “clinic” is certainly a “choice,” but it is not the first one. Life doesn’t just spring up in a woman’s body from casual contact. It isn’t like catching a cold. You don’t get it because you grabbed a shopping cart and didn’t use one of those little antiseptic wipe things to clean it off first, and you don’t get it by shaking hands.
God’s More Expansive View ~
God’s concept of the “sanctity of life” is not relegated to life in the womb alone, as vital and significant as that question is today. God made it plain that the sanctity of life in the womb is simply another acknowledgment of the sanctity of life altogether. His view is much more extensive than we tend to acknowledge, and to the degree that we continue to ignore or disregard the implications of God’s view, we contribute to the plague. Focusing on the sanctity of the life we have now would be a major step toward protecting the life God grants inside the womb.
God’s approach to sanctification and what it means isn’t just a political or philosophical statement. He’s the author and ultimate owner of every form of life. To Him, it isn’t just a physical phenomenon; it is first of all spiritual. When the life in question involves those created in His image, the implications of how we handle it are profound. God’s view on the sanctity of life issue is clear.
Finally then, brethren, we urge and exhort in the Lord Jesus that you should abound more and more, just as you received from us how you ought to walk and to please God; for you know what commandments we gave you through the Lord Jesus. For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you should abstain from sexual immorality; that each of you should know how to possess his own vessel in sanctification and honor, not in passion of lust, like the Gentiles who do not know God. (I Thessalonians 4:1-5, NKJV)
Test all things; hold fast what is good. Abstain from every form of evil. Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you completely; and may your whole spirit, soul, and body be preserved blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. He who calls you is faithful, who also will do it. (I Thessalonians 5:21-14 NKJV)
A Sanctified Design ~
God sees all of us in the context of relationships, and He designed a social structure wherein life would be transmitted in the context of loving, committed relationships in order to preserve social stability and to offer the most positive potential for the new lives He would introduce into the world. When we ignore that and promote sexual involvement as little more than another form of transient personal entertainment, it isn’t a laughing matter. It represents an affront to God Himself and a mockery of something He sanctified that is far more significant than anything Norman Lear and the writers of “All in the Family” ever did with Archie Bunker’s chair.
… And speaking of Archie and his chair, what do you suppose God’s reaction is when He sees His special space invaded and abused by those who have no respect for what it means to Him?
© 2018 Gallagher’s Pen, Ronald L. Gallagher, Ed.S. All rights reserved.
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