Give blood, save a life
PORT MARIA, St Mary:
Although there is no biblical scripture that directly encourages people to donate blood, the vast majority of Christians agree that giving blood to help, for example, infants and children suffering from cancer, heart problems, or sickle cell anaemia is the right and ethical thing to do.
Perhaps the most relevant and potent biblical reference can be found in the New Testament when Jesus tells the disciples that His blood is shed because of many other people's transgressions.
According to Matthew 26, Jesus and the Apostles were dining in a house during the Passover (an ancient Jewish holiday that takes place every year around Easter time): "And as they were eating, Jesus took bread, blessed it, broke it, and gave it to the disciples, saying: 'Take, eat; this is my body.'
"And he took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying: 'Drink ye all of it; for this is my blood of the New Testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins. But I say unto you, I will not drink henceforth of this fruit of the vine, until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father's kingdom.'"
While the true meaning of this metaphorical and slightly ambiguous statement is open to interpretation, all Christians that take part in the Eucharist or Holy Communion believe that Jesus shed His blood and died on the cross to save the sinful human race.
Similarly, Seventh-Day Adventist pastor Gordon Lindsay, who is responsible for seven churches in southeast St Mary, recently embarked on a campaign to encourage more people to share their blood for the benefit of those in need.
Speaking to Family and Religion recently, he said: "[Last month], we had Global Youth Day initiatives across the Northeast Jamaica Conference (NEJC) of SDA Churches where young people and elders of the church do acts of kindness in different areas throughout their communities.
"We adopted the Annotto Bay Hospital and gave all the patients a gift package to let them know the church cares and is seeking to minister, as Christ did, to their needs. Some people were combing hair in shut-ins, some were cleaning up homes, and others were offering free blood and sugar checks.
"This year, the drive was for blood donations, and more than 200 units of blood were donated across the Jamaica Union Conference. Here at the NEJC, we opened an account with a blood bank in Port Antonio where individuals can go in and donate blood that will be used to save the lives of people who are in need. I think it's a really good idea and shows that we're pointing to the greatest of blood donors, Jesus Christ, who has given all His blood for us."