Tag Archive: sacrifice


The Lamb of God

Currently, we have four lambs running about here. Two of the ewes dropped sets of twins in the last couple of days, and there are two ewes to go. Carey and I took advantage of a sunny patch this afternoon to take a look at them. One of those ewes doesn’t look like she’s pregnant, but it would be her first. Maybe she’s psyching us out. The lambs are, of course, adorable, and their mothers aren’t too bad, either.

The current set sure is more friendly than the set we had at first. Jemima, Goldie, and Cider were old Shropshire ewes used to living pretty much on their own out in the field. They didn’t much like having people around, and they especially didn’t like being handled. Working with them… well, it was certainly made for several memorable experiences, shall we say? It made me much better able to understand that “all we like sheep have gone astray.” I don’t do much with the current set, who would be Lily, Cutie Pie, She-Hulk, and Tiger Lily, but I don’t have to see that they are much more friendly. They don’t back off, stamp a foot, snort, roll their eyes, and defiantly pee when people approach. Instead, I heard much excitement in the baas greeting me. The pigs… er, sheep were hoping for grain. The really hilarious thing is I discovered that Cutie Pie had her own supply in her pen, but she didn’t want it. She expected me to stand there and feed her by hand. I came back with sheep slobber all over one hand.

As I said, the lambs are adorable. They always are. Lambs as a type are my favorite baby. I do apologize to my friends who have had babies – your babies as individuals are all adorable, too. It’s just that lambs in a group are my favorite. They’re long legged, tail waggers full of curiosity and very little fear who play and play and play and eat and sleep and play. They bounce. They spring. They bound. They seem to defy the laws of physics in their action sometimes. They slip through the cracks of the fence to merrily run amok in the yard while their mothers stand anxiously at the fence calling for their wayward offspring. They’re full of (mostly harmless) mischief. They parade about pretending to be big, fierce sheep (mostly an oxymoron) and then freak over a leaf skittering through the middle of their small flock. They make me laugh. I can watch the silly hooligans for hours.

More than one time this afternoon, I smiled thinking about the antics this crop of lambs will probably pull in the next couple of months as they explore. Lambs are great.

And then I got to thinking that Christ is the Lamb of God. He is identified as the Lamb of God by John the Baptist in John 1:29. The book of Revelations also favors that name. Jesus is the “Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world.” When I’ve thought of Jesus as the Lamb of God, I realized today, it’s always been tinged with the color of sacrifice. It’s been white bleeding red running black. Lambs, perfect ones, in the Old Testament were used as sacrifices. They had to be without blemish, without defect, and their deaths were an important part of many of the Temple feasts and ceremonies. I’m sure there is a load of symbolism in it that I don’t fully understand, and I’m not going to try to this day. What I do understand is that we all fall short of the glory of God, and that Christ’s sacrifice somehow took away the sins of the world and made relationship with God possible. That’s a sobering, disarming, heavy with holiness, weeping with joy kind of understanding. I am saved. I’m so grateful for my salvation.

But I wonder. I wonder. Don’t you? Is it only in the sacrifice – in death, in life offered for others – in which Christ is identified with lambs, or does the infectious joy and the delight with which I smile to see lambs living also mark Christ’s living?

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CPR

I’ve had a couple of opportunities in the last week to practice CPR. One was expected. That would be today’s card renewal, and, no offense to the instructors or the AHA, it was boring – a definite non-event. That’s how it should be. You really don’t want too much excitement at a routine renewal course.  After all, you’re working with dummies, and the idea is to practice and perfect technique.

The other opportunity was an event with lots of excitement. I was working, and we had a new patient come in. Things happened fast, without warning. The patient was fine – the patient was not, and we’re suddenly involved in resuscitation efforts. I mean, the patient had literally been up walking and talking 15 – 30 minutes prior. Things seemed well in hand. I’d left the room and gone down the hall to help other patients only to have to turn around and run back thinking, “Oh, no! What happened?”

It was a well attended event, with representatives from multiple departments and disciplines. I bet at least 40 people showed up to help. Lots of people were in the room. More waited outside. The noise inside was incredible at points, people shouting over the clamor as we fought to get ourselves organized and accomplish our tasks. I was part of the chest compression team, which was an energetic assignment. Unfortunately, resuscitation was not successful. We had to stop, let the patient go, and help care for the patient’s spouse. The spouse, right before leaving, said, “You guys sure tried hard.” We did. We tried very hard.

As I stood in line waiting to do chest compressions, I couldn’t help but think about the renewal class I had today. I’ve done the renewal many times. I knew it would feel very different from the focused chaos that occurs at a real event, and I started to compare and contrast. Renewals are boring. You’re just working with dummies, inanimate lumps of plastic and rubber. Far as I know, dummies don’t have relationships. They don’t have loved ones sitting behind watching you try really hard. Dummies never drew breath, and there’s something faintly ridiculous (and sometimes frustrating) about trying to give them rescue breaths. Dummies never had or have heart beats. You can lay your head down on their chests and listen for as long as you like, and you’ll never hear one. They don’t miss it. You won’t, either. At the most, for a renewal, you’ll have 3 people participating in a resuscitation practice. It’ll be something like an instructor and 2 people working on a dummy for the practice. It’s pretty calm and controlled. In fact, it’s difficult to get people to take it very seriously. There tends to be a lot of dummy jokes! Dummies are also forgettable. You don’t bump into people later and discuss how CPR on the dummy went. Well, maybe if you heard a REALLY good dummy/CPR joke, you might, but otherwise, no.

And then you have people, the real event and why you go to BLS (Basic Life Support) renewal classes. Someone had breath and now does not. Someone’s heart is not beating. Help is needed! The need is emergent, the call goes out, and staff drops what they’re doing to run to help. I did. I ran. My body started putting out adrenaline, and my feet flew quick and sure as I responded. I’ve heard some people say that they love that adrenaline rush, and that’s part of what keeps them working where traumas and resuscitation efforts are more common. I thought about that, too, while I stood there waiting. I thought it over and rejected it as my motivation. That rush is a good feeling, but it’s not enough. There’s something more there. I thought about it and thought about in the last couple of days, until I realized how privileged I felt to be there. “Privileged!” Yes, that is the word I was wanted.

Despite the hardship involved (and it is hard, make no mistake – it can be very physically and emotionally wearing), it is a privilege. Think about it. If someone is in need of CPR, it is probably one of the most significant moments of their experience. They are in profound need of assistance, and relative strangers show up to help them. How is not a privilege to be able to show up and try to help someone in desperate and immediate need? It is a burden and part of my job, ’tis true, but it is also a privilege. What makes it even more amazing is that it’s a group of people. It’s not just me, overcoming my fear and weakness and selfishness to respond. It’s a bunch of people, leaving stuff behind to gather around one person’s bed and work as a team to preserve that one person’s life. Should efforts fail, the group tends to mourn the loss as well. Curiously enough, one of the people in my renewal class today was present at the real event earlier this week. He remembered the patient and talked about it. The patient – that person – was not forgettable. That patient’s presence and absence was felt. We couldn’t help, and now someone’s family will never again hear that person’s voice or heartbeat. It’s worth grieving for them all. Again, how is this not a privilege?

Perhaps the most important difference between practice and people is that in real life, there aren’t any dummy jokes. People are too busy demonstrating that they care about other people, and that they are there for that person who is in need. To be a part of that… to get to respond… to say yes… to sacrifice and show up is most certainly a privilege.