Why Is Christian Mysticism Such A Bloody Religion?
Christian Mysticism: I remember sitting in church, as a child, and singing: “What can wash away my sins?” “Nothing but the blood of Jesus!” As I sung, I had no idea how blood could make anything or anyone clean. In my world, blood could only make me dirty. When I would scrape my elbow, mother would use soap and water to clean it up. It was water that cleansed, blood made me dirty.
It wasn’t until I took High School science courses that I began to understand what a powerful cleansing agent blood is, as it flows through the body.
Let’s take a trip to the doctor’s office. The first thing is to take your blood pressure. You feel the tightness of the cuff. What if the nurse would allow the cuff to stay inflated, while you conducted an experiment? Make a closed fist then open. Do that several times. You begin to feel such fatigue in your hand, it would become immovable. Then you hear the hissing of the air as the cuff deflates. You feel immediate relief as the blood returns to its normal flow.
What has happened? If you will permit an oversimplified, layman’s explanation: I’m told that there are approximately one hundred trillion (with a “T”) cells in the human body. Each cell is like a tiny manufacturing plant. As it performs its work, it accumulates wasteful by-products. Each one of those cells, fortunately, is only a hair’s breadth away from some capillary that delivers oxygenated blood, providing energy for the cell to function. At the same time, it picks up carbon dioxide, and other harmful by-products, carrying them to the lungs and kidneys, where they can safely be removed. Without this continuing cleansing, the body ceases to function.
You may wonder how this medical model applies to the believer. The New Testament describes the church as “the body of Christ.” Everyone who is a part of this living, spiritual organism is like a cell. As the heart of Jesus’ love beats within this mystical body, it circulates life, bringing cleansing to all who are a part of it. “The life… is within the blood” (Leviticus 17:14). Blood is a metaphor for the living faith which is at work within the body of believers to energize and to cleanse.