Most Sundays right before the service begins, I teach a portion of the Catechism to children and “eavesdropping” adults. This past Sunday the portion was the Fifth Commandment (Exodus 20:13; Deuteronomy 5:17), which not only forbids murder, and causing death by carelessness or negligence, and any other hurting or harming of our neighbors, but also enjoins helping and supporting our neighbors in every physical need.
Although we may not have murdered anyone, we nevertheless fail to keep this Commandment as we should. For example, murder in the Bible is equated to anger and hate (Matthew 5:22; 1 John 3:15). Thanks be to God, the God-man Jesus Christ died on the cross for our sins against this Commandment and against all the other Commandments. When we turn away in sorrow from our sin and trust God to forgive our sin, God forgives our sin, for Jesus’s sake.
An example of how at least some of us can help our neighbors is by donating blood at the drive going on today from 8:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at Pilgrim (713 Florey Street). The need is critical, for less than 40 percent of the population is eligible to donate, and less than 10 percent actually does donate. Moreover, in the summertime demand goes up, while supply goes down!
The forgiveness Christians receive from God alone should bring about at least our desire to keep Commandments such as that to help our neighbor in this way, if not also our actually doing so, but there are some added incentives in this case. The Blood Bank of East Texas is giving beach towels to successful donors, and, thanks to Citizens Bank of Kilgore, if 25 or more units of blood are collected, a total of $500 in cash will be given to three donors or donor-recruiters (if fewer than 25 units are collected, $25 will be given to one donor or donor-recruiter).
Recruit someone to donate, and, if you yourself are eligible to donate, come on over (walk-ins are welcome)! If you cannot do so today, mark your calendar for the next drive, October 6.
The Rev. Dr. Jayson S. Galler is Pastor of Pilgrim Lutheran Church in Kilgore. You can reach him through the congregation’s website: www.pilgrimlc.org.