During the season of Lent, in the Anglican Church we take time to reflect upon the story of Jesus in the wilderness (Matthew 4.1-11) – a period of self-sacrifice which identifies Jesus as the new Moses, and prepares him for his messianic mission and his redemptive death and resurrection.
For centuries the Church has drawn on this story, not just to remember it, but to bring it to life in the present age through our own faithful participation. Typically during Lent in the lead up to Easter, Anglicans make sacrifices by donating resources (e.g. food and finances), time (e.g. by volunteering) and/or giving up privileges or habits (e.g. technology and sugary food), for the purpose of joining Jesus in the season of sacrifice and being humbly transformed.
So, I found myself thinking and praying, “What sacrifice could I make during this Lenten season that would better make the experience of Jesus come alive?”
It was at this point that I felt drawn to donate blood for the first time – to book in an appointment with the Red Cross to give my blood for others. And, I must say, that I was fine at first – giving blood, no problem. But there was something about actually knowing that the day was slowly creeping closer that was a little unsettling, probably because it was the first time I had given blood. Even though I knew that this small sacrifice of time and blood would contribute to saving the lives of up to three others, there was still something uncomfortable about the idea of giving up some of my blood.
When the day came I was welcomed into a nice facility with open arms and given instructions, a comfy chair, some food and drink, and I even got to take some nice photos – hardly the Jesus experience! Nonetheless, when I was sitting in the chair watching the blood leaving my body, I began to reflect on the Eucharistic nature of it all. We are all one body in Christ and need to take care of each other, including by giving blood if and when we are able to.
It occurred to me that it was an honour to roll up my sleeves and make a small sacrifice to bless others with life, and to do so because of Jesus and in relationship with Jesus. Reflecting on the scriptures made this a humbling and transformative experience indeed. For the Son of God has given his life in order that we might have life to the full (John 10.10). And, what a blessing it was to join our Lord in serving that mission, particularly during this season of Lent.
The experience of donating blood during Lent reminded me that the Church’s seasons are truly enriching for those who choose to immerse in them, for they serve as a bridge which carries the life, mission and hope of the ancient Christian faith into our present reality.
And, so may we all continue to mark the liturgical seasons and participate in the Jesus story and may the God of peace bless us all with his abundant life for the good of his kingdom.Jump to next article