This week on Wednesday we will once again observe St. Patrick’s Day. Like so many things this year it will seem odd not to have St. Patrick Day parades and corned beef and cabbage specials at local eateries. Traditionally on St. Patrick’s Day everyone is Irish for the purposes of celebration. So go ahead and plan to wear green, have some Irish soda bread or a Guinness and rejoice in all things Irish- whatever your ethnic heritage might be.
The actual story of St. Patrick is an interesting chapter in church history. Born in Roman Britain in about 450. Patrick, as a young man was captured and enslaved in Ireland. After six years he escaped from bondage and returned to Britain where he took up the study of Christianity. In his own writings Patrick attributed to his time in captivity his own growing sense of Christian spirituality. Once a priest, Patrick returned to Ireland ultimately becoming the Bishop and Patron Saint of Ireland. His ministry not only marked the conversion of Ireland to Christianity but also the establishment of churches, monasteries and schools. Many legends surround the story of St. Patrick but the heart of the story is true-he was the Christian missionary to this island nation.
A famous work of Trinitarian theology attributed to St. Patrick is retained in our own hymnal, #6, known as St. Patrick’s Breastplate. The theme of the hymn is that the singer is binding himself to the God in three persons. A particular poignant verse is the verse concerning Christ. “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.” On this St. Patrick’s Day may you have a sense too, of Christ’s ever-present reality in your life.
Yours for the journey,