Saint Patrick’s Day has become a BIG party day—a day for parades and celebrations. It’s a day of eating Irish food and drinking green beer and Irish Whisky. It’s a day of wearing green. . . and pinching those who don’t.
But this is not what the patron saint of Ireland would have expected. Nor is it what he would have wanted (Read What Would St. Patrick Think About His Day?). Saint Patrick was more about surviving than he was about celebrating. His life is an example of Christ’s provision in surviving persecution and oppression.
Before He Was Saint Patrick
Little is known about Saint Patrick before the time of his preaching in Ireland. We know he was a British native, about 16 years old, when he was captured by pirates in the late 4th century. He was enslaved for six years in Ireland. During that time he came to Christ and committed himself to serving Him. After escaping from his captors, he returned to Britain. A few years later, he had a vision in which he felt called to return to Ireland and preach the gospel. The rest is history (Read more about the man, Saint Patrick here: Happy Saint Patrick’s Day)
The Valley of Christian Growth
Freed from six years of enslavement and persecution, Saint Patrick did not allow it to define him as a bitter man. Instead, we determine from his writings, that his love for Jesus and the peace he found in the Lord’s presence, formed a theology of hope — a theology that prepared him for his life’s mission of sharing the saving grace of Jesus.
Had Saint Patrick not experienced those six years in a valley of suffering, would his testimony have been as powerful and as fruitful?
No one can answer that question. But we do know that, even before Saint Patrick’s freedom from slavery, he was freed from the bondage of sin and saved by Jesus. He experienced a rebirth that made him a new man and compelled him to serve the Lord, and to one day evangelize the country in which he had been enslaved.
Celebrate and Consume or Commemorate and Commune?
Saint Patrick would not want his legacy to simply be a celebration of Irish heritage and culture. Nor would he want it to be a riotous party of consumption of food and alcohol.
Saint Patrick would want his day to be a time of commemoration — a time of quite repose to reflect upon the great mercy and grace of God. A time to remember God’s goodness, His kindness, and His faithfulness, not only in saving us but also in preserving us through any trial or tribulation.
Finally, the message of Saint Patrick is a reminder that we are able to commune with our Creator.
St. Patrick’s Prayer
A poem by St. Patrick (read the entire poem here) has survived the test of time and remains popular in our day. In the closing stanzas St. Patrick beautifully articulated the all-encompassing presence of Jesus, our communion with Him, and what our commitment and response should be.
The Bible says that Jesus is with us always, by the power of His Holy Spirit (Col 1:27). And Jesus promised that He will never leave or forsake us (Heb 13:5b). Do you remember those things every day? Pray the words of St. Patrick and press these words upon your heart.
Christ be with me, Christ within me,
Christ behind me, Christ before me,
Christ beside me, Christ to win me,
Christ to comfort and restore me.
Christ beneath me, Christ above me,
Christ in quiet, Christ in danger,
Christ in hearts of all that love me,
Christ in mouth of friend and stranger.
I bind unto myself the Name, The strong Name of the Trinity,
By invocation of the same, The Three in One and One in Three.
By Whom all nature hath creation, Eternal Father, Spirit, Word:
Praise to the Lord of my salvation, Salvation is of Christ the Lord.
Let Saint Patrick’s Day be a day of communion with Christ. He is with us always.
Are you always “with” Him? Find your rest in His presence and rejoice in your salvation.
Take one minute to refocus and know that the Lord is with you always (Mat 28:20b)
Take a lesson from this saint of old. Share the saving grace of Jesus with others.
Be Ready Always...
to give a reason for the Hope that you have (1 Peter 3:15). When you can’t share the gospel with your words, share it by leaving tracts that tell people about God's grace.
When leaving a tract, always be diligent to pray for the short gospel message. Pray that it be found by someone who is in need of Jesus’ saving grace, and pray that the person will have a tender heart and open ears to receive the gift Jesus desires to give them.
By the power of the Holy Spirit, even a small tract can help in turning a broken, sinful person from darkness to light.
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