During my routine annual visit with my doctor, I complained of how often I seemed to be catching little “bugs” that made me feel poorly. He suggested adding a “super-dose” of Vitamin C to my daily regimen. For about 20 years now I’ve taken a giant 1000mg pill every morning. While it hasn’t completely eliminated the occasional cold from my life, I’m convinced that their frequency has been drastically reduced.
We’ve also learned over the past 16 months how habits like frequent hand washing, regular sanitizing of shared surfaces, social distancing, and masking all reduce the easy transmission of illness and disease. Even as some of these habits relax, I suspect many of them will remain a more constant or reoccurring part of our lives. And I will continue to take my big pill of Vitamin C every morning.
In yesterday’s sermon, I shared this quote from the Hungarian-American Biochemist Albert Szent-Györgyi, “Water is life’s matter and matrix, mother and medium. There is no life without water.”
Dr. Szent-Györgyi keenly understood the preeminence water holds in the complex systems that contribute to life for all of creation. His own life is a powerful witness to how God has worked through the gifts of curiosity and scientific wisdom imparted to brilliant minds like Dr. Szent-Györgyi’s. He was born into Hungarian nobility and raised by both Catholic and Calvinist parents. His early studies in medicine were interrupted by the 1st World War when he went to serve as a medic. Following the war he returned to his studies, ultimately earning his doctorate at Cambridge University.
During the 2nd World War, Dr. Szent-Györgyi was active with the Hungarian resistance, helped many Jewish friends to escape, and was a secret negotiator with the allies. Hitler himself, issued the warrant for his arrest but he survived the war as a fugitive from the Gestapo. After the war, he assisted with the re-establishment of the Hungarian government but soon became dissatisfied with Soviet-backed communism and emigrated to the United States, ultimately working for the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, MD and his own research institute in Woods Hole, MA.
All of this is remarkable, but today I give thanks for the work Dr. Szent-Györgyi accomplished between the wars and was the basis of his scientific career. In 1937 he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Medicine for his discovery of the process to isolate from other acids the compound now known as Vitamin C. God’s work, in and through Albert Szent-Györgyi has been a benefit to all of creation. I, for one, have a daily reminder of his gift.
May God’s peace find you this day. – Pastor Peter
Let us pray…
God, today we give thanks for the curiosity and wisdom you have granted to your children, like Dr. Albert Szent-Györgyi. May their work continue to be a testament to human ingenuity and the capacity to take on the greatest challenges of this day. With your help, we will heal this planet and restore health to all living things. Amen