A blood-soaked faith.
Those who believe have donned vestments that are drenched in red.
“Christian religion is covered in blood. Wherever you look, you’re bound to see red.” Such were the opening words to a recent Brad East article in The Hedgehog Review. Those words might seem overly visceral, for some, but there’s no eluding the necessity of this blood. As I said back in February, that ought not make you fearful or scared or embarrassed. Ours is a blood-soaked faith, through and through. Those who believe have donned vestments that are drenched in red, crimson robes “washed white in the blood of the Lamb” (Rev. 7:14). And there’s a reason for all that blood-talk in and among the church — precisely because “blood is the stuff of life.” Such is what Samuel James says in one of his recent essays, “The Universe Demands a Cross”:
Christianity is about blood. It is a blood-stained narrative about a blood-stained universe. The Garden teems with spectacular creations of life, and blood courses through the veins of animals and image-bearers alike. When God gives Adam and Eve skins to cover themselves with after they plunge the cosmos headlong into darkness, the unspoken realization is that somewhere, a creature’s blood was shed so that this man and woman could be clothed, protected, and unashamed.
Atonement is not mere ritual, it is a reckoning with the world as it really is. Everyone offers a blood sacrifice for something: a creature’s blood for my food, a stranger’s blood for my survival, my own blood for the life of my child. Try to believe for one minute that this world is not fallen, not broken, not longing for a redemption denied it hence, and you won’t take three steps before you see blood. Blood is the stuff of life, as well as its price.
I highly recommend you go and read the whole thing. Samuel is an excellent thinker and writer. And if you’re anything like me, by the end his words will have you singing along with Mr. Cowper:
There is a fountain fill’d with blood
Drawn from Immanuel’s veins;
And sinners plung’d beneath that flood,
Lose all their guilty stains. (98)
Grace and peace to you, friends.
John Newton and William Cowper, Olney Hymns, in Three Books (New York: Williams & Whiting, 1810).