Sunday, October 03, 2004

A celebration whose time is WAY past due

Check out this site for the National [Organ] Donor Sabbath - a celebration of the life of every person whose donated organs have given life to others, and an encouragement for communities of faith everywhere to educate and encourage their members about organ and tissue donation. On this site are clergy- and religious-specific ways that you can participate in this very special Sabbath.

I've known at least five people who have benefited from the gift of organs and tissue - including one teenager, burned horribly in a car crash, who received the gift of living skin from donations by the driver, who died in the crash. (He has fully recovered, and you have to look hard to see where the skin grafts's pretty amazing.) I've also known several absolutely tragic deaths, where the only immediate saving grace was that the organs that were donated brought life to others, and at least some meaning to an otherwise senseless loss.

I have a dream - that the students, faculty and staff of LSTC and McCormick seminaries engage this Sabbath project, and through their leadership, encourage the pastors and chaplains they train (and the ones trained by the rest of the ACTS consortium) to build a groundswell of organ and tissue donation commitments. Now that would be a "recycling project" that would pay dividends for years to come! (Hey, GreenZone members - how 'bout it?)

The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America affirms that it "regards the donation of organs, tissue, and whole blood as an act of stewardship and as an appropriate means for contributing to the health and well being of other persons" and "urgently encourages its members to consider donating organs, tissue, and whole blood" (emphasis added; see the link here for the 2004 social policy resolution.)

Mark November 12-14 on your calendars - and on the worship schedules of the churches in which you participate. It's the cheapest, most valuable gift we can give - let's encourage people to do this. Check it out - pass it on - get involved...and sign your own donor card.

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