Happy St. Patrick’s Day

March 17, 2009

shamrock

Happy Saint Patrick’s Day!

Did you know that Patrick of Ireland was, in fact, what we would today call an Evangelical?  Despite the tradition that links him to the Roman Catholic Church, Patrick was not part of the church of Rome.  Long after his death Patrick was “adopted” by the Roman church.  Instead, Patrick was British.  We can’t call him a protestant, because  the ‘protests’ were still centuries away.  But his faith was thoroughly Evangelical.

More than that, Patrick was the embodiment of Missional.  He literally sold himself into slavery in order to reach a people he had come to love. And that itself is amazing.

I can’t do the story justice, but I’ll give a brief overview:

When Patrick was a young teenager he and a group of friends were horsing around in their native Briton.  Out of nowhere came a band of savage Celts, capturing Patrick and his friends, taking them to Ireland, and putting them into slavery.  For decades Patrick lived as a slave in Ireland.  But the Lord got hold of his heart and his life during this time.

When Patrick finally escaped – or was he released? I cannot remember – he returned home to a well-to-do family that long presumed him dead.  But rather than settling into a life of ease and prosperity, Patrick began to prepare himself for a life of ministry among the very people who had once captured and enslaved him…

The rest, as they say is history – though much surrounding the story is legend.  Nevertheless, Patrick was God’s vessel to reach an Unreached Pagan people group with the Gospel…

If you want to know more about Patrick, let me commend to you T.M. Moore’s The Legacy of Patrick.  T.M. tells this fascinating story, clarifies some of the myths, and weaves significant spiritual insights gained from Patrick into this book.

But as I think about Patrick I see a man who lived out the Gospel.  I see a man who, by is very life, embodied what it means to live in the Missio Dei (Mission of God).  His purpose was God’s glory to be recognized by a people, a place (Ireland), and a culture (Celt/Druid). 

In recognition of this day that honors Patrick let me encourage you to reflect upon the prayer attributed to him.  Whether Patrick is the actual author seems doubtful. But I think it captures the essence of who Patrick was.  And it is a beautiful prayer and song.

St. Patrick’s Breastplate:

I arise today Through a Mighty Strength, the Invocation of the Trinity, through the belief in the Threeness, and the confession of the Oneness of the Creator of Creation.

(Click above to read the entire prayer.)

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