With St. Patrick’s Day just around the corner, I thought I would give a little historical background to the man behind all the green beer that will be consumed tomorrow. His story is one that testifies to the fact that in the midst of all the chaos, calamity, and change going on around us these days with the disasters in Japan, the sudden and dramatic grassroots revolutions in Egypt and Tunisia spurred on by Twitter and Facebook, food and gas prices spiking all over the world, and that underlying sense of despair hanging in the air, we serve a Good God who is at work to redeem all of creation to Himself and will bring His peace out of the chaos! He’s not up in Heaven wringing His hands wondering what to do, or hangin’ His head overwhelmed by the doom and gloom.
Patrick was born in 390 AD at the beginning of the end of the Roman Empire. With the sacking of Rome by Alaric the barbarian in 410 AD, the vast Roman Empire began to implode. Yet in Ireland, a land the Romans were never able to conquer due to the resilient nature of the warring tribes there, God was on the move. Patrick was kidnapped in England by Irish pirates at the age of 16. During his captivity in Ireland, he came to know Jesus. After six years of captivity, Patrick escaped and returned to England where he was ordained. One night he had a vision from God calling him to return to Ireland and serve his captors. For the next 30 years, Patrick loved and served the people of Ireland.
It is said he was responsible for the planting of 700 churches, the ordaining of 1000 priests, and influencing 30 to 40 of the 150 pagan warring tribes of Ireland to turn to Jesus. There are many stories of Patrick being resisted by druids who tried to place hexes and curses on him to no avail, and Kings who tried to kill him. He was a man of courage, of quiet confidence in His God, of deep compassion for the oppressed, and a lover of God through the beauty of creation and the arts.
So since I love all things Celtic, and St. Patrick is one of my heroes, I want to lift a toast today and tomorrow to the Trinity who worked through one simple, yet available man, to change the course of a nation.
A few of questions to ponder: Where is God showing up and at work on the margins or fringes of your neighbourhood, town, or city? Where does He want you to dive into the chaos around you to bring His joy, peace, and reconciliation? What do you fear the most these days?
Have a great St. Patty’s Day tomorrow and may God raise up many more like him in our day and in our time to bring a little taste of the Kingdom to come here on earth!
Take some time to reflect on the Psalm below:
Psalm 46: 1-2 “God is a safe place to hide, ready to help when we need him. We stand fearless at the cliff-edge of doom, courageous in sea-storm and earthquake, before the rush and roar of the oceans, the tremors that shift the mountains… Attention all! See the marvels of God! He plants the flowers and trees all over the world, bans war from pole to pole, breaks all the weapons across His knee. Step out of the traffic! Take a long, loving look at me, your High God, above politics, above everything.”
Your fellow Celt,