Today is the National Day of Prayer, and the theme is Unity.
I was able to be a part of the prayer time here in Richmond, and it was an honor to pray with brothers and sisters for our Government, the Media, the Military, Businesses, Churches, Education, and Family. The time of prayer for unity in churches reminded me of the time I spent at the William G. Fitzhugh abortion facility two weeks ago.
It was a very ecumenical experience - in the best sense of the word.
This was my first time sidewalk counseling at the Medical Center for Women in Richmond. I didn't know their hours, their procedures, or who else might be there. Fortunately I was not alone, but was surrounded by the body of Christ from many backgrounds.
When I first arrived, there was already a man there with a "Stop Abortion Now" sign around his neck. He was the leader of a group of Catholic men from various parishes around the city. They all get together to pray the Rosary at the abortion facility twice a month. So these devout and steady men, some who have been praying here for decades, were my first connection.
The next group that came was a group from a local Free Will Baptist Church. The pastor of this church brought a dozen others with him to pray, evangelize to those passing by, and to share the Gospel! When they first got there, the Catholic men were being harried by a pair of men who were clearly drunk. The pastor went right up to the drunk men, pulled them away from the men in prayer, and started sharing the Gospel with them. It was great to see him work to give the other men space to pray without harassment. These passionate Free Will Baptist Church members were my second connection.
In a short time I met a great man who has been sidewalk counseling, and being a public witness to those driving by on the busy streets, for over 30 years! He came to take his regular place at the corner, and was overjoyed to see so many others there that day. He told me all about the granddaughter who's picture is on the front of his custom sign. Now he was my third connection, and he is Southern Baptist.
After everyone else had to leave, I took a minute to cross the street and check out the services going on at the Messianic Jewish congregation, Tikvat Israel. They were so happy to greet me, and made me stay for lunch! Many of the members, and the wife of one of the Rabbis, thanked me for being there to sidewalk counsel. "We are very pro-life, and we pray each week for the end of abortion." She told me. This, my third connection, was quite unexpected.
This is ecumenism. The whole body comes together to do the ministry of God. God is the God of life, and whether we are Presbyterian, Free Will Baptist, Southern Baptist, Roman Catholic, or Messianic Jews, we do the work of God by opposing abortion.
I don't know if anyone was changed by our presence there today or if our prayers were answered in miraculous ways. What I do know is that the body of Christ came together in opposing abortion, and that is something I celebrate.