"This is my body that is for you"
This first appeared May 03, 2014 4:00 am • By Susan Baller-Shepard FOR THE PANTAGRAPH
When I'm anxious, the words we say during communion resound in my brain: "And when Jesus had given thanks, he broke it and said, 'This is my body that is for you. Do this in remembrance of me.'” In the same way he took the cup also, after supper, saying, 'This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.'” (I Corinthians 11:24-25) Of late, these words have gained deeper meaning for me.
As a mom, I relish all the energy that comes with having kids around the house. I love having kids at our kitchen table for meals: kids that are mine, kids that are my kids' friends, kids that are friends of friends. But someone has been missing from our kitchen table for months now, and we all feel his absence. Austin's an easy kid to have around; he went on vacation with us last March. Austin and my son are on the Tri-Valley basketball team; Austin's a star at three-pointers. By summer, he was diagnosed with a disease that required a bone marrow transplant. His brother will have to follow in these footsteps as well.
Austin's story has stirred many into action. On a February evening, when the car thermometer measured 10-below zero, we drove to Farmer City for a basketball game. The chili supper held that night at Blue Ridge, sponsored by the Kiwanis and the high school Key Club, had half the proceeds going to support a fund to help offset Austin's medical expenses.
When the teams came out to warm up before the game, all the Blue Ridge Knights were wearing Austin's basketball number. Looking out on the court, all the kids and coaches, their team and our team, had on No. 15, Austin's number. Suddenly, as the Apostle Paul would say, "There is no longer Jew or Greek, there is no longer slave or free, there is no longer male and female; for all of you are one...." (Galatians 3:28) — a powerful reminder.
Austin, one of "ours," became one of "theirs" too.
Then, in our school library, Be The Match, operated by the National Marrow Donor Program, came to help us with a donor drive. In countless ways I was reminded of the words we say over the bread and the cup: "This is my body that is for you," also translated, "this is my body, broken for you," words we are called to remember. These donor volunteers may never get called up to donate, or they may. Either way, they've reminded us of faith: They've thrown their hat into the ring, saying they'll be available, should they get a call.
For more information about Bone Marrow Donation see BetheMatch.org