When you think of St. Patrick's day, you probably think of leprechauns, clovers, money, luck, and of course, green. But, like many holidays, people have turned St. Patrick's day into something it's not.
Surprisingly, St. Patrick was a Christian! (But he didn't become a Christian until a while later.) And he actually was not Irish. Nobody knows for sure where his birthplace was, but they believe it was somewhere in Roman Britain.
When Patrick was 16 years old, he was captured and taken as a slave in pagan Ireland. He was far from home, and as a teenager, he would ignore the religious teachings he was brought up in. But during his time as a slave, those teachings are what he clung onto the most. I'm sure he was looking for some kind of hope to get him through this time. He was forced to tend sheep, and was held captive for 6 years. But that time as a slave only strengthened his relationship with God, and he eventually became a Christian. Later he was able to return back home.
Even though he was held captive as a slave in Ireland, he knew he needed to go back to those Irish people, which I'm sure was extremely difficult, because of all those horrible past memories. If I was him, all that would be going through my mind would be the awful people that wanted to take advantage of me. But he went back, because he needed to tell those people about the God who changed his life. During this time back in Ireland, he baptized thousands of people, and ordained priests in the new Christian communities. He did a lot of amazing things for the Christian Irish community! Patrick wrote about the Irish,
"Never before did they know of God except to serve idols and unclean things. But now, they have become the people of the Lord, and are called children of God. The sons and daughters of the leaders of the Irish are seen to be monks and virgins of Christ!"
It's so crazy to think that the Irish people never even knew about God. All they knew was to serve idols! It's incredible that Patrick was able to win so many people to Christ, in a country where they knew nothing about Christ. A country he was enslaved in!
Some of you probably know about the Trinity, but some of you might not. We hear in the Bible of God being referenced in 3 different parts. Father (God, in heaven), Son (Jesus, seated at His Father, God's, right hand in heaven, but once walked the earth, and died and was raised again for our sins), and Holy Spirit (often referred to as Holy Ghost, God's spirit that dwells inside of us once we become a new creation in Christ, that convicts us and guides us). Patrick described the Trinity using a Shamrock (three-leaf-clover). I'm pretty sure that's why we always connect clovers and St. Patrick's Day together. Pretty awesome!
St. Patrick's Day is always on March 17th, because that's when they think Patrick's death took place.
What if that happened to you? What if you were taken captive for so many years, and eventually went back home? Would you have the same faith that Patrick did, and go back to tell those people about the God who saved you? Let's step into this week with faith instead of fear. Let's go out and boldly proclaim our faith, without fear of the past. I know it will be hard. But the end result will be so worth it! St. Patrick is such a great example of being a proclaimer of the Gospel, even when all the odds are stacked against us. He's an example of someone doing the impossible.
Who in your life does this story remind you of? Maybe ask them for some advice in moving forward in faith instead of fear.
Happy St. Patrick's Day!
Here's todays Bible verse!
Do to others as you would like them to do to you.
You probably remember that as the golden rule, but it's actually a verse in the Bible! We actually get a lot of our expressions from the Bible, which is pretty cool!
God made you. Uniquely. Beautifully. Intentionally. Purposefully. Wonderfully.