Did you hear? The culture of death opened two new outposts in Oklahoma in 2016. A new abortion clinic was opened in south Oklahoma City, and a new Planned Parenthood clinic also came to Oklahoma, one that will perform abortions.

This tragic development reminds us that the availability of abortion, which only leads toward destruction and darkness, is on the rise, even in a family-friendly place like Oklahoma.

As with any tragedy, Christians can respond with light and life. Jesus said, “A thief comes only to steal and to kill and to destroy. I have come so that they may have life and have it in abundance” (John 10:10).

A classic expression of His light and life can be found through the annual Rose Day Pro-Life Rally, which takes place each February inside the halls of the Oklahoma State Capitol as a statement in our shared belief about the sanctity of human life.

From its humble beginnings decades ago, Rose Day has developed into the largest annual pro-life gathering in Oklahoma. What effect has Rose Day had? For more than 25 years, Rose Day has united various Christians, who stand shoulder-to-shoulder under the banner of Christ, speaking out for the worth and sanctity of human life. There is perhaps no other event in this state that has as consistently united Christians from various faith traditions.

Next, in the past 25 years, 16 life-protecting pieces of legislation have been passed, in connection with Rose Day. Recent laws include the “Unborn Child Protection from Dismemberment Abortion Act,” the “Heartbeat Informed Consent Act” and a law providing a 72-hour waiting period before abortion.

Moreover, the annual rate of abortion in Oklahoma has declined from 12,000-plus abortions a year in 1985 to approximately 5,000 annual abortions in the most recent year for which statistics are available.

At the same time, we recognize that one abortion is too many. We further recognize that Christians must do more to help women (and men) in the midst of a crisis or unplanned pregnancy, especially in the face of these new abortion clinics.

To that end, we encourage every Oklahoma Baptist and anyone of pro-life convictions to take part in Rose Day. By taking part in Rose Day, you will be personally inspired in your efforts to protect life at every age and stage.

To take part in Rose Day, simply show up on Wednesday, Feb. 8 at the State Capitol in Oklahoma City, and bring red roses as a symbol of life. You will register on the second floor of the Capitol, then along with the many others in attendance, distribute your roses to your state legislators, the governor and lieutenant governor. The rose distribution is a beautiful sight.

The Rose Day rally event begins at 11:45 a.m. in the Oklahoma State House Chamber, which is always memorable and meaningful. The 2017 keynote address will be delivered by Southern Baptist Pastor Ronnie Floyd of Cross Church in Springdale Arkansas. Previous Rose Day speakers include Norma McCorvey (formerly “Jane Roe” of the Roe v. Wade court decision), Abby Johnson, former Planned Parenthood clinic director turned pro-life spokeswoman and also two abortion survivors, Melissa Ohden and Gianna Jessen.

Each of these speakers has brought a strong message. Your presence at the 2017 Rose Day on Wednesday, Feb. 8, is what sends the loudest signal to Oklahoma’s elected officials: that we expect life-protecting laws in this state.

So will you turn aside for one day this year to attend Rose Day and thereby lend your voice for the vulnerable and the voiceless? Will you, in a world filled with destruction and darkness, take this opportunity to point people toward the light and life found in Christ?