How to Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day

March 16, 2011

Forget the leprechauns and Lucky Charms.  Move over corned beef and cabbage.  Put away your pinchers, all you people who are eager to see someone not wearing green.  (By the way, if you’re an adult, you should know that pinching people was okay back in middle school.  Now it’s just creepy.)  Despite the silly fun that we manage to import into all of our holidays, you might be surprised at what would more fittingly dominate our thoughts on St. Patrick’s Day:

MISSIONS!

Patrick was born in Britain in the 4th c. as the Roman Empire was crumbling.  He was captured at age sixteen by Irish marauders and was sold into slavery in Ireland.  While tending sheep as a slave, he was converted to Christ as he remembered the church’s teachings that he had learned as a boy.  He made a harrowing escape from slavery in his early twenties, whereupon he traveled to Gaul (modern-day France) where he trained in the church, preparing himself to be a missionary.  Around the age of forty, he returned to barbarous Ireland in order to preach Christ to his enemies.  In the course of thirty years of labor, including physical persecution, he baptized thousands of Irish people and started hundreds of churches.  After his death he became known as the apostle to Ireland and Ireland’s patron saint.   In short, Ireland turned from barbarism to faith in Jesus Christ through the witness of Patrick.

St. Patrick’s Day, if it’s about anything, is about missions.  Which means that one of the best ways to celebrate this holiday would be to share the gospel with a neighbor.  Patrick himself would likely agree.  What follows are some of Patrick’s own words.  I hope they will spur you on:

One should proceed without holding back from danger to make known the gift of God…, to spread God’s name everywhere.

One should fish well and diligently…. It behoved us to spread our nets, that a vast multitude and throng might be caught for God.

I would wake up before daylight to pray in the snow, in icy coldness, in rain, …the Spirit was burning in me at that time.

I cannot keep silent, nor would it be proper, so many favours and graces has the Lord deigned to bestow on me.

I am ready [to give] even my life without hesitation; and most willingly for His name.

Daily I expect to be murdered or betrayed or reduced to slavery…. But I fear nothing, because of the promises of Heaven.

I am a slave in Christ to a foreign nation for the unspeakable glory of the eternal life which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Be converted by faith with all your heart to my Lord God.

On that day we shall rise again in the brightness of the sun, that is, in the glory of Christ Jesus our Redeemer.

(All quotes taken from Jonathan Rogers’ Saint Patrick [Thomas Nelson] 2010.)

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One Response to “How to Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day”

  1. Angela Says:

    Loved this. It enhanced our St Patrick’s day lesson!! Thanks!


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