Saturday, April 14, 2012


Fr. Dale Matson

“But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin.” (I John 1:7, ESV)

Over the years, I have donated blood and actually asked the blood bank not to attempt to contact me on a regular basis since my blood type O is the universal donor and blood banks never seem to have enough.

My reasons for donating blood have generally been self-serving such as a 3 day pass when I was in the Army or pints of ice cream in more recent years. I even made “weigh-in” once, at weight watchers by stopping by the local blood bank first.  My late mother was a “Grey Lady” who served at a local blood bank.

Friday I was a recipient of two units of packed red blood cells. I appreciate the anonymous individuals who gave me this gift of life. It seems to me that giving blood is Christ-like since it is a part of a cleansing and replacing process for those receiving chemo therapies. Without the new blood many would end this earthly existence. Without the blood of Christ, there would be no Heavenly existence.  It takes a lot longer for the blood to go in at about two hours per unit. The hospital “infusion room” is a very solemn place with serious nurses and precise technicians. There are redundant procedures to insure the matching of patients with the needed blood types.

I ran down the battery on my smart phone and began conversing with some of the other patients and their spouses, who frequently accompany them, during the infusion. Most patients are wheeled in and out.

Patty was with her husband Joseph who was there for platelets. As soon as his blood is restored, he will be ready for another round of chemo. She told me, “Thank God for the donors.” I used this as an opening and asked her if she really meant that or it was just an expression for her. “Oh, my husband and I are Catholic but have not been to church for years. A priest refused last rights to Joseph’s uncle and we haven’t been back since. We’re religious though and Christians.” I offered that it was my hope that there would be an eventual reconciliation. As Catholics, they had cut themselves off from the sacraments. She understood. I told her I was an Anglican Priest.

Later I asked her if she would help me by plugging my pump back in since I was tangled up in all the plastic hoses and was concerned I would disconnect myself. When she plugged the machine back in, I asked her quietly if she would allow me to pray for her and Joseph. She agreed and following the prayer, we were both tearful. She commented as she sat down, “I guess we were supposed to be here today.”

As she and Joseph were leaving the room she said, “I mean this in the best way. I hope we never see you here again. Your Church needs you to be well.” I said, “Sometimes clergy are more useful when they are sick.”

“Three times I pleaded with the Lord about this, that it should leave me.  But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.” (2 Corinthians 12:8-9, ESV)            

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