Because of expected ice storm on Sunday January 9, only 8:30 worship will take place onsite.

May 26, 2022

A Pastoral Word. . .

Pastor Mark Adams

May 26, 2022
In 1951, this young woman, Henrietta Lacks visited John Hopkins Hospital (the only hospital in Baltimore at that time that treated black patients) complaining of a knot in her abdomen and bleeding. Doctors discovered a large, malignant tumor on her cervix.

Before her death a few months after her admission, Lacks began undergoing radium treatment for cervical cancer and later underwent a biopsy to determine the progress of the treatment. Doctors were shocked to find that Lacks’ cells were unlike any others they had ever seen.

George Otto Gey, the first researcher to study Lacks’s cancerous cells, observed that these cells reproduced at a very high rate and could be kept alive long enough to allow more in-depth examination. Until then, cells cultured for laboratory studies survived for only a few days at most, which was not long enough to perform a variety of different tests on the same sample. Lacks’s cells were the first to be observed that divided multiple times without dying, which is why they became known as “immortal” cells.

Today, these cells, nicknamed “HeLa” cells (short for “Henrietta Lacks), are replicated worldwide and have led to many important breakthroughs in biomedical research.

For example, by 1954, Jonas Salk was using HeLa cells in his research to develop the polio vaccine. To test his new vaccine, the cells were mass-produced in the first-ever cell production factory. Since then, Lack’s cells have been uses to study the human genome and the effects of toxins. HeLa cells were vital in research done to find treatment for AIDS and in the study of how viruses affect the growth of cancer cells.

Most recently they played a crucial role in the development of the COVID-19 vaccines. Today, scores of polio survivors and the billions who've been vaccinated for COVID-19 owe a great debt to this woman of whom most people have never heard.

When I read about this young woman, I couldn’t help think of the similarities between her story and that of our Lord Jesus.
  • He, too, died around the age of thirty.
  • He, too, might have long since been forgotten if his story wasn’t retold especially at Easter.
  • Like Lacks, Jesus is honored for that special something about his blood.

As Isaiah puts it, “He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon Him; and with His stripes we are healed.”

This, the GOSPEL STORY, must be told so that more and more can be cured of the terminal disease known as sin.

By the way, Lack’s cells were taken without her knowledge.  In fact, her family didn’t know about all the wonderful ways Lack’s death was helping people until 1975 when a large portion of her cells became contaminated and family members began receiving solicitations for blood samples. Sadly, the Lack’s family never received any compensation for the billions of dollars of profits that came from research on her cells.

Keep the SON in your eyes!
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