Good Friday and the Shedding of Blood

March 29, 2013

Today I gave blood. I do this each year as an intentional expression of my Christian faith and gratitude for what Jesus did for me. I sat in a comfy chair in a clean, safe environment. The procedure did not hurt. The company was congenial. And when I had deposited my pint, I was bandaged, fed, and sent home to take it easy for a few hours.

I give blood on Good Friday as a spiritual discipline and an opportunity for contemplation.  I was quite conscious of the fact that the conditions under which Jesus gave his blood for all of humanity were completely unlike mine.

Jesus’ own spiritual discipline and contemplation prior to the Passion had reinforced his security in the care of his heavenly Father.  Though he agonized in the Garden of Gethsemane prior to Judas’ betrayal, he chose to give blood for the salvation of all humankind as the fulfillment of the Father’s promised care for us. In the process, he was abused physically and psychologically. He was not fed during his ordeal; betrayed by a friend and falsely accused by his countrymen, he was whipped and spat upon, crowned with thorns and mocked by Roman soldiers. No one offered solace, according to biblical accounts, though the fourteen Stations of the Cross imagine the ministrations of comforting women along the way. When Jesus faltered on the Via Dolorosa, Simon of Cyrene was enlisted to relieve him of the cross for a short respite. By the time the actual crucifixion took place, Jesus was a physical wreck.

But only then was his blood fully spilled.  And he did this for us, offering himself willingly as the atoning sacrifice for our sin. “Without the shedding of blood, there is no forgiveness of sins” (Hebrews 9:22).

The nurses today at the blood donation center were quite eager for me to donate, for the need is great. Their attitude reminded me of the urgency the Church should maintain in sharing the story of Christ with the unchurched and the unreached. Presbyterians rarely articulate the urgency of evangelism, and certainly not in terms of Christ’s shed blood, more along the line of “new congregations.” Our responsibility is so much more than programmatic. When will we feel the urgency to pour ourselves out for the lost and independent people around us, so that they, too, can live in the security of the Father’s love and care? At what level must we encounter people in order to appreciate the darkness they walk in or the confusion that disorients them? How willing are we to enter their world with the urgent grace of Christ’s gospel?

These are the things I thought about as I gave blood today.

 

 

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4 Responses to “Good Friday and the Shedding of Blood”

  1. davehackett Says:

    In my experience, it’s in the shared urgency of evangelism that we find our place in the body of Christ.

    No urgency? Then no drive to find partners in ministry. No manifested effort to touch lives around us with the Gospel so they can experience the reconciliation that came through the cross of Christ.

    Scaled back urgency? Then it’s all too convenient to limit our partnering only to “official partners” or just to other Presbyterians.

    The urgency we learn from the cross (and a blood donation is a good parallel) is that this Message cannot be contained, is for all people, and in that urgency we discover our oneness with many other believers in Christ for God’s purposes.

  2. emd5542 Says:

    Thank you for this fitting reminder and challenge as we make our way through Holy Saturday, longing for “Christ Is Risen. Christ Is Risen Indeed.” I posted on my Facebook page. May it be widely and deeply read this day as your postings have the heart and wisdom we all need. Eleanor


  3. What a fine way to note the day, pal. Now, in the silence of this day, begin to dream an anticipation of tomorrow.

  4. John Minihan Says:

    Great post. Thank you!

    Rev. Dr. John C. Minihan

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