Wednesday, March 23, 2005

a red river of clean

(A little intro: Some mornings, I don’t know what I’ll post on my blog. I’ve learned that that’s okay, though, because usually by the time I’m ready for that part of my day, I do know. Today was such a morning.

Last night I opened my copy of The Book of Common Prayer 1962 Canada to see what it suggests for Easter week. There I found lengthy readings for each day. This morning when I read Wednesday’s ‘Epistle,’ these words jumped out at me: "And according to the law, almost all things are purified with blood, and without shedding of blood there is no forgiveness."

That verse reminded me of a kids’ article I wrote on this very subject a few years ago. I’m posting the article, below. Just know that the reason the tone and language are simple is because it’s written for kids.)

A Red River of Clean

It is always moving. It carries food to every cell in your body. It also carries the hormones and other chemicals you need to survive. It helps your body keep warm or cool. It is like a medical clinic inside you, working to heal and repair any part that is injured or ill. Without it you would be dead in minutes.

Have you guessed what it is? It’s your blood.

Another thing blood does for you is clean your body. If you’ve ever tried to scrub a stubborn blood stain out of clothes, you may find it hard to believe that blood can clean anything. But one of its main jobs is to help your body get rid of impurities.

Your blood helps clean out wastes made inside you. Blood flows through tubes called arteries to cells all through your body. It carries water, food and oxygen. The cells take the nourishment. They exchange it for waste. The dirty blood flows away through veins back to your heart and then to your lungs. In your lungs, the waste –– carbon dioxide –– leaves your body through your nose. At the same time your red blood cells pick up more oxygen for their next trip around the body.

Your blood also cleans outside invaders from inside you. Tiny bacteria, viruses, fungi and parasites get into you through your nose, mouth or injured skin. White blood cells protect you from these killers. Though white cells make up only a tiny part of your blood (1%), you need them to live. Their main job is to recognize an invader, attach itself to it, swallow it and destroy it.

Some white cells also have a kind of memory. When they recognize a bacteria or virus that has been in your body before, they tell just the right white cells to make and release huge quantities of killer poison (antibodies). The enemy is quickly destroyed and the wastes of this war are carried in the blood to your kidneys. Your kidneys filter grunge from about 1800 liters of blood in a day.

Long before people found out how blood cleans our bodies, God told John to write about another kind of blood that cleans, "...the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanses us from all sin." (1 John 1:7 Simplified Living Bible).

How does Jesus’ blood clean us?

Before Jesus came to earth, God’s people followed the Old Testament laws. These laws told them what they should and shouldn’t do. Breaking these laws was sin. When people sinned, they had to make a sacrifice. The laws also told what sacrifices to make, when, and how. If the people sacrificed an animal –– a sheep, goat or dove –– it had to be perfect. The killing of an animal and the shedding of its blood showed the people God took sin so seriously, the punishment for it was death.

Then Jesus came. After He lived a perfect life, He offered Himself as the sacrifice (the perfect lamb) that God demanded for sin. Because He never sinned, it wasn’t His sin He paid for, but ours. When we put our faith in His death, the pouring out of His blood as the offering for our sin, God sees us as sinless and clean. Jesus’ death for our sin is what we remember on Good Friday.

Then He rose from the dead! His victory over death is what we celebrate at Easter.

In spite of how cleverly God has made us, some day our physical blood will fail because of disease, accident or old age. But the cleaning power of Jesus’ blood lasts forever. If we have let His blood clean us, we can look forward to the day when we stand before God in our shining, white, blood-cleaned robes. (Check it out –– Revelation 7:14.)


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