Last week in Chicago, a man found a newborn baby girl lying on the ground outside his apartment. Her umbilical cord was still attached and she was barely alive after suffering blunt force trauma. She died shortly thereafter, and police later discovered that she had been thrown from a ninth story window by her mother.
My friend Aaron Damiani is the pastor of Immanuel Anglican Church, which meets across the street from the place where the man found the little girl. Immanuel stepped up and held a memorial service for her, which Aaron led.
If your heart aches over our world’s callous disregard for the lives of children — both inside and outside of the womb — please read his brief, but powerful comments from the service and be comforted.
I would like to speak plainly about the life and death of Mary Diana. She was born to the world this very week. Shortly after her birth she was badly injured, and then she was abandoned in a grassy area outside of 850 W Eastwood, just yards from where we sit today.
A resident of the building discovered her on Wednesday just before midnight. He gently swaddled her in his own clothes and brought her to Weiss Memorial Hospital. She was given immediate medical attention.
There was a chaplain on site who gave her the name Mary. She baptized baby Mary and was with her to the end. Mary passed soon after. Another resident from the Eastwood building gave her the middle name of Diana. Mary Diana, a beautiful name for a beautiful child.
What happened to Mary Diana was not OK. It was evil and cruel.
- As a newborn baby, Mary Diana was a gift – to us, to Uptown and to Chicago. And she should have been received as a gift.
- Mary Diana should have been protected, not abused.
- She should have been nurtured, not abandoned.
- She should have been loved, not discarded.
- Mary Diana was supposed to grow into maturity and make a loving contribution to the world. We won’t know what that contribution would have been.
Let us speak plainly. Death came too soon to Mary Diana, because death was her enemy. But her death was precious in the sight of God. And though death was her enemy, Jesus Christ is her hero and champion. Let me tell you why.
Jesus Christ went before Mary Diana.
He went before her through his birth.
- Though He was the delight of heaven and the Son of God, Jesus Christ entered history and became a vulnerable baby, just like Mary Diana.
- His small life was in danger from Herod, who slaughtered many babies, who tried to slaughter Him. Jesus’ parents had to flee, and hide him to keep him alive.
- He did that out of personal, tender love for Mary Diana.
Jesus Christ went before Mary Diana in death.
- He took blows, blunt force trauma.
- He was stripped naked, and He was abandoned by people He loved, people He needed.
- Death was His enemy too, and He faced it with courage and love for Mary Diana.
Jesus Christ went before Mary Diana in resurrection.
- Jesus Christ was raised to indestructible life. Not in a sentimental or even mystical way; His body was raised to new life. The evidence of history shows that He fed, taught, and encouraged over 500 people after His resurrection.
- Jesus Christ turned death against itself.
- He is alive — alive for Mary Diana, and when she breathed her last, His arms of love were wide open to her.
Death was Mary Diana’s enemy.
Jesus Christ is Mary Diana’s hero. He conquered death on her behalf. Christ has died, Christ is risen, Christ will come again.
Because this is true of Jesus, through Him we can know God’s protection, love, and security. Though we are surrounded by tragedy, we can have a secure hope. Though we face death ourselves, we can have confidence because a hero has gone before us.
Let us speak plainly. Mary Diana does not belong to death, she belongs to Jesus Christ.
In the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, Amen.
One thing we can all do to honor Mary Diana and her Lord Jesus is to stop now and pray for all the children whose lives are devalued by those whose hearts are calloused. We can start by praying “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do” (Luke 23:34).