Protestants encourage and endorse organ donation. The Protestant faiths respect an individual’s conscience and a person’s right to make decisions regarding his or her own body. Reverend James W. Rassbach, Lutheran Board of Communication Services, Missouri-Synod, says “We accept and believe that our Lord Jesus Christ came to give life and give it in abundance. Organ donations enable more abundant life, alleviate pain and suffering and are an expression of love in times of tragedy.
- The theme throughout the Bible is God giving of His life.
- The principle theme of the New Testament is Jesus giving of His life so we can live.
- Jesus gave His life.
- No greater love demonstrated than this.
- No greater reward than giving so others can live.
- Jesus gave His body that we may be whole.
- Jesus gave His blood so we need not struggle for our own cleansing.
III. It is understood that we love ourselves enough to know we are worthy to give of ourselves.
- The command is to love one another as ourselves.
- We would certainly want others to give of their material possessions, talents, and time to improve our life.
- We should do unto others as we would have them do unto us.
- Many are uncomfortable about what others think if we were to give to those in need.
- But the Samaritan who had every cultural reason in the world not to help, did help.
- Could we not/should we not be available to give to those in need of lifesaving procedures and gifts such as organs, tissues, and blood?
- We do feel uncomfortable about giving, but reality points out we shouldn't be.
- Many people throughout history have cremated their bodies, as they saw no more need for the body.
- We need to remember, as the Moravians did, that death is the great equalizer.
- We may be rich or poor materially, but at death we are all equal because we don't take it with us.
- We should give that which will only be left behind to decay.
- We should always be reminded that we go to God with only a rich or poor soul.
In Acts 3:1-10, Peter comes across a man crippled since birth sitting at the gate called Beautiful. Peter wasn't bothered by the man's plea for alms. Instead, Peter associated with this man (supposedly unclean because of impairment). Peter didn't have gold or silver, but instead he gave the man something more precious—a new life through new legs. This nearly cost Peter his life (Acts 5), but Peter courageously gave the man the power to be whole so he could walk through the gate called Beautiful.
The gift of giving life is an eternal heritage left behind by the donor. Jesus, Peter, and many others are known for their life-giving gifts. Today places such as Lynchburg General Hospital, Lynchburg, Va., have planted a tree in remembrance of their organ donors.
We all have the opportunity to help our suffering neighbors live improved lives.. We may not even know our "neighbor's" name, but it is apparent that the giving of ourselves to help someone else certainly pleases Christ and God. It doesn't matter if we are rich or poor materially, we can all give our organs, tissues, and blood so that others can go through the gate called Beautiful.
Adapted from "Giving for Life: Organ and Tissue Donation" memorial service by Wayne Lanham, Director, Pastoral Care
Lynchburg General Hospital