According to Wikipedia, “Colostrum . . . is a form of milk produced by the mammary glands of mammals (including humans) in late pregnancy. Most species will generate colostrum just prior to giving birth. Colostrum contains antibodies to protect the newborn against disease, as well as being lower in fat and higher in protein than ordinary milk.
“Colostrum is known to contain immune cells (as lymphocytes) and many antibodies such as IgA, IgG, and IgM. These are the major components of the adaptive immune system. Inter alia IgA is absorbed through the intestinal epithelium, travels through the blood, and is secreted onto other Type 1 mucosal surfaces. Other immune components of colostrum include the major components of the innate immune system, such as lactoferrin, lysozyme, lactoperoxidase, complement, and proline-rich polypeptides (PRP). A number of cytokines (small messenger peptides that control the functioning of the immune system) are found in colostrum as well, including interleukins, tumor necrosis factor, chemokines, and others.” And so forth, with a whole bunch of other stuff that I don’t understand.
My reading goes on to marketable colostrum, which comes from organic cows and is available as liquid, powder, lozenge or capsule. One doctor says it should be taken in powder or lozenge form because that’s the way it naturally enters the body. Another doctor—an actual medical doctor—(and no, I can’t re-find the site to document the quote) wrote in some natural healing journal that colostrum can tone down an over-active immune system as well as tune up an under-active system: colostrum balances the immune system.
Well, I’m good with that, so I decide to try it. Unfortunately, neither my accessible CVS nor Rite Aide drugstores carry it, so Diana gets some for me at a store not to be named because of its horrific mark-up on prices. Then Diana takes me to Isaiah’s Table for a healing prayer group and laying on of hands.
My only previous experience with church healing was this: I was in hospital and one of the nurses said her church—a good, white, Dewitt/Manlius/Fayetteville church—was starting a healing group for people with orthopedic or musculature problems and would I like to join? In those days, my fibromyalgia pain was acute so I said, sure, I’d like to try it. The nurse signed me up for the group.
A couple days later she came back and told me that I couldn’t go. It was being run by a physician and I was on inpatient psychiatry being treated for depression; the physician wouldn’t let me into the group. God only heals the body, not the mind? The physician so quickly separates the mind from the body? The church lets one Christian (physician) exclude another Christian (patient) from a spiritual gathering? There are a lot of reasons why I hate The Church and physicians: this is one of them.
So here I am with Diana Sponsler inviting me to a church healing. The first thing you need to know is that when a massage therapist is working on a client, they may talk. And if it’s two women, you can bet your sweet bippy that they’re going to talk. One of the things Diana and I have talked about a lot is the state of our immortal souls, as well as the condition of her church. Diana and her family were long, long, term members of First Presbyterian Church United, which closed last year.
First Presbyterian, in the 1960s, had a membership of a thousand people; fifty years later it had about a hundred, with only forty attending service. First Pres is located on the near Westside of Syracuse and, like many urban churches, its congregation moved to the suburbs and abandoned the city church. So First Pres closed last year—but ah, but oh—there was a remnant of the faithful.
The remnant rented First Presbyterian’s chapel and opened Isaiah’s Table: Grace, Hope, Food for All. At 9:30 on Saturday morning, they serve breakfast. In the century since the church building was erected, the neighborhood around it has become poor. Isaiah’s Table sets out breakfast and all are welcome (afterwards, there is apt to be a pile of hardboiled eggs and tangerines—food that people who have no homes can pocket and carry forward). After breakfast, there is worship.
There is no organ, no piano player, no choir. The people sing their faith a cappella and sing it loud. There is no pastor or sermon. There is some reading or video picked up from the Internet, and then the people speak of their faith. Christians have an open conversation about God. Wow. How’s that for a radical concept?
I started attending Isaiah’s Table last November and only have missed one Saturday. On Wednesday evenings they do a little bread-and-soup thing, then more talk of God. Now Diana has called for a healing for me on Wednesday night. She picks me up with my manual wheelchair (I’m too far gone to cope with Call-a-Bus) and we go to church. There are about a dozen people gathered.
Diana invites them to lay hands on, and leads a guided meditation. She describes Jesus walking toward us, then adds me to the picture. In the following silence, I recite the words of my favorite hymn: “Then sings my soul, my Savior, God, to thee, how great thou art.” I feel the warm weight of hands upon me.
Afterwards, we speak of the Holy Bible—is it the infallible word of God or the best creation of men? Most of us agree that it is an infallible God’s message transcribed by very fallible men. Diana leaves for a meeting and Michael, her husband, drives me home.
He tells me that during the meditation he introduced me to Jesus and Jesus said, “I already know her.”