I was fascinated to discover recently that tests have shown that sick people recover more quickly if they can see growing things – trees and plants. Seeing them out of the window, or being amongst them, is best, but even a picture of them on the wall makes a difference to recovery times. Plants, of course, also make a contribution to our health in all sorts of other ways, from what they provide in the way of vitamins and minerals as we eat them, to the drugs that can be made from, or copied from, what the special properties that some of them possess. You probably also know that drinking water is very good for us, and, not least, sunshine – unless we let it burn us.
Now why am I saying all this? It’s because today we celebrate that God is Trinity, and what we need to realise is that the Trinity is not a complicated theory but something we experience in our daily lives. So when we pray for God to help us we need to be open to all the different ways this will happen. And the first and most obvious way that God works in us and through us, is in the created world as I have just described. God is the Father, the creative power underlying all things as we heard in our 1st Reading today (Proverbs 8:22-31) – “He made the earth, the countryside… the first grains of the world’s dust..”
The second way that God helps us is through one another. When I am sick or sad I do not just need sunshine and medicine, I need people to care for me. We all know the difference between the nurse or doctor who doles out the medicine like a machine, and the one who actually listen to us and shows in all sorts of ways that he or she cares. We are all aware too how the support of family and friends is really important when we are ill or depressed or facing some real difficulty in our life. This surely is why God came to be with us as a real caring human being – Jesus Our Lord. There is a prayer that runs “Christ has no hands but yours.. no feet but yours..” All the care we humans get from others, or give to others, is an experience of the human face of God. It is an experience of God the Son, Jesus our Friend and Guide.
Finally we meet God deep within us. We have resources within that are a powerful part of the way we cope with life and make the best of whatever life throws at us. We all know that we are more likely to get better when we are sick if we have a positive attitude to what we are facing. We also all know how irritating it is to be told this when we feel like death, when we are depressed or facing continuous pain. It may still be true, but finding the positive side of things is immensely difficult. Here, it is God the Holy Spirit that can and will work deep within us giving us hope even when we cannot feel it for ourselves. As we heard in our 2nd Reading, (Romans 5:1-5) “The love of God has been poured into our hearts by the Holy Spirit which has been given us.” There it is, that inner strength, and reminding ourselves that it is there even when we cannot feel it, as we pray alone or as we pray together, is why prayer can be so powerful.
So there we have it. God the Father in creation around us, God the Son in the people who care for us, and God the Holy Spirit in the power within us.
As we hear in that great hymn – St Patrick’s Breastplate – which is based on his prayer:-
I bind unto myself today The strong name of the Trinity,
By invocation of the same, The Three in One and One in Three,
Of whom all nature hath creation, Eternal Father, Spirit, Word.
Praise to the Lord of my Salvation Salvation is of Christ the Lord.