We modems are repelled by the thought of blood cleansing, but biologically and spiritually the precious liquid does exactly that.

Blood is life—spiritually and physically. Few persons are more appreciative of this truth than surgeon and devout Christian Paul Brand. In this and the following two issues, CT presents Brand’s striking insights, polished by writer Philip Yancey. Each essay may be understood exclusive of the others, but all explore the themes of blood and the Lord’s Supper.

I Turn up the Collar of my wool topcoat and bow my head against the penetrating, moisture-laden wind. Snowflakes are gradually transforming the tired modern city of London into a Dickensian Christmas card. On a deserted street I stop under an ancient street lamp and look up. Snow arcs around the lamp like an endless shower of electrical sparks, then floats down to cover pothole, gutter, car, and sidewalk alike with a uniform coat of softly glowing white.

From somewhere I hear music, muffled brass and what seems like human voices. On a night like this? I walk toward the sound and the music grows louder until I round a corner and see its source: a Salvation Army band. A man and a woman are playing a trombone and trumpet respectively, and I grimace as I imagine the effect of metal pressed against lips in the numbing wind. Three others, evidently new recruits, are lustily singing a hymn based on a poem by William Cowper.

Only two other people are listening: a drunken gentleman who is propping himself against the stone porch railing of a Georgian-style townhouse, and a businessman on the corner who keeps glancing at a pocket watch. The words are familiar to me:

There is a fountain filled with blood

Drawn from Emmanuel’s veins;

And sinners, plunged beneath ...

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