Column: Chaplain who saved the life of badly injured serviceman

Rt Rev Geoff Pearson, Bishop of Lancaster
Rt Rev Geoff Pearson, Bishop of Lancaster
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Last week the Lions of England were in town – soldiers recruited throughout the North West.

The Duke of Lancaster’s Regiment filled Lancaster Priory for a moving service of Remembrance.

Over their history they have 59 Victoria Crosses and two George Crosses to their credit.

I shared with them a story that had spoken to me following a friend’s posting in Afghanistan.

David, a chaplain with a medical unit, had been called to the field hospital, as a US Marine had been brought in. The situation was pretty grim and the odds were favouring the last rites rather than any measure of healing.

One of those random improvised explosion devices had blown away the lower limbs of this soldier and he desperately needed blood. They gave him 157 units of blood.

Step back two days previously and the same chaplain had donated some of his own blood. As David watched he saw his own blood being readied to give to this young marine.

In some small way the chaplain’s blood donation contributed to the survival of this soldier - a young American, who thankfully lived to see his baby daughter, born just before he flew to Afghanistan.

Yes, he faced life-changing injuries, but he was alive and came back to say ‘thank you’ to those who had treated him.

I used this story to illustrate how the person who is at the centre of the Christian story donated his blood on a cross; how his sacrifice had a much wider reach than an individual’s in a field hospital.

The sacrifice of Jesus made a way out for guilty humankind. It demonstrated both God’s love and justice in one amazing act of unconditional love.

I remember someone saying, ‘But God acting on my behalf in this way is simply too good to be true’.

I found myself replying, ‘It is too good NOT to be true’.

At the service of remembrance it was a reminder of a different cross – a battle won on behalf of us all.