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Devotional: March 17, 2020: Saint Patrick's Day!

Updated: Mar 26, 2020

“Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” Matthew 28: 19-20

Happy Saint Patrick’s Day! While this is certainly a different Saint Patrick’s Day, with everyone hunkered down in their homes because of COVID-19, it is worthwhile to reflect on the life of Saint Patrick.

Here are four facts, and life lessons we can take from Saint Patrick

He was kidnapped as a youth. When he was about sixteen years old, Saint Patrick was kidnapped by Irish pirates. He was held in captivity for six years, until he managed to escape. What I find remarkable is that Patrick, through the power of faith, did not allow this awful, traumatic experience to define his life! Through the power of God, he rose above it, and moved on. Ask yourself, “Do I allow negative experiences to define my life, or do I move forward, with the power of God transforming me?”

He was not Irish. How ironic is it that the patron saint of Ireland, Saint Patrick, was not Irish? While he spent much of life ministering in Ireland, he was not born there. Nor did he spend his formative years there. The fact that Patrick was a missionary should cause each one of us to reflect upon the sacrifices of all Christian missionaries, past and present. For the sake of Christ, and Christ’s church, they leave their homes, and often, their home countries. They travel thousands of miles, to minister in cultures which are initially strange to them. Why? Because of the Great Commission, our scripture for the day, Matthew 28: 19-20. In our church, the very presence of Sally Killaby, who grew up in the mission field in Nepal, reminds us of the sacrifices of Christian missionaries around the world! Pray for all those who are far from their homes, both Christian missionaries around the world, and those dislocated during this pandemic.

He returned to Ireland. After he became a Christian, he returned to Ireland. This fact speaks to the incredible, life-changing power of God. It also speaks volumes about forgiveness. Think of it! Patrick is called back to the very country where he was held as a slave for six years. How many of us would want to return to a place with so many bad memories? Yet that is exactly what he did: he returned. Ask yourself, “Have I forgiven those who hurt me in the past?”

He saw the love of God reflected in the beauty of God’s creation. One of the reasons why many people love Saint Patrick, is because he saw all of nature as a witness to God’s creative power. His beliefs formed the basis for the earthiness of Celtic Christian spirituality, which shaped and formed much of our Christian world-view. One example is the Celtic cross, which unites the cross with a circle, symbolic of the sun and the earth. Patrick saw the Book of Creation and the Book of Life (God’s Word) as reinforcing one another, not opposed to one another.

Prayer for the Day:

God of all nations,

We thank you for your love, which extends into the ends of the earth. May you bless and sustain all of who minister to others. As we remember your transformative power in the life of Saint Patrick, grant us such forgiveness, and such boldness, even as we face the struggles of our time. We pray this prayer in Christ’s holy name. Amen.

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