Little green men, four leaf clovers, green beer, parades and corn beef and cabbage.
Those are the things that we think about when we think about St. Patrick’s Day. What we forget in the midst of the fun and folklore is who St. Patrick was and what he did. This is important for the church to remember on a day like today.
Before St. Patrick became a saint, he was actually kidnapped from Britain and held as a slave in Ireland for 10 years after which he escaped back to Europe. Then he was called by God in a vision to go back to the country and he was previously enslaved to battle Paganism and spread God’s word in Ireland.
So why is this important for the church?
In our culture, we get so caught up in the fun of the holidays that it’s easy for us to forget why they are there. When we take time to remember St. Patrick, we take time to remember a man who was called by God to witness to a group of people that brought him pain, suffering and enslavement. Imagine how St. Patrick must have felt when God told him where He wanted him to go. I’m sure Patrick argued with God, said no and complained about what God was asking him to do. Not wanting to bring up the pain of his past, but it was in that pain that God was calling Patrick to something new.
In Ezekiel 37 God tells Ezekiel to prophesy to a valley of dry bones and breath new life into them. That is the glory of the Gospel. God uses dead, dry, painful experiences of our past and breathes new life into them. Jesus gives new purpose and new mission in spite of the pain of our past. It’s our responsibility to not only listen to word of God in our lives, but take the next steps to see them come to fruition.
St. Patrick is a great example of this and today as we remember what he did, let it be a challenge to us in our own lives to move past the pain and suffering of our past and let God breath new life, purpose and mission into it in order to spread His Gospel among our world.
Pastor Steve Gold