More than Green Beer

Thursday of this past week was March 17, St. Patrick’s Day.  So, who was St. Patrick, and why should he mean a little more to us than Corned Beef and Cabbage and Green Beer?

Patrick wasn’t even Irish.  He was born in Scotland, the son of a Christian Deacon, who according to the History Channel, “probably took on the role because of tax incentives and there is no evidence that Patrick came from a particularly religious family.”  He was taken captive to Ireland, at the age of sixteen, where he remained for six years, being forced to work as a shepherd.  Patrick states in his “Confessio,” paragraph 16, that “…in one day I would pray up to one hundred times, and at night perhaps the same.”  He escaped captivity, having had “a voice” direct him to a ship and, after a bit of drama with the captain, sailed back to his homeland.  Feeling a calling, Patrick risked his own safety to return to Ireland as a missionary to convert the pagan Irish to Christianity.  Interestingly enough, Patrick was never canonized by the Catholic Church.  He became a saint by popular acclaim.

Legend credits Patrick with using the shamrock to illustrate the triune God, three leaves on a common stem.  

Legend also credits him with banishing the serpents from Ireland.  Curiously enough, there is no evidence that serpents were ever in Ireland to begin with.  A metaphor?

Returning to “Confessio,” paragraph 56, “Now I commend my soul to my most faithful God.  For him I perform the work of an ambassador, despite my less than noble condition.  However, God is not influenced by such personal situations, and he chose me for this task so that I would be one servant of his very least important servants.”

Whether we like it or not we, even the least of us, have been chosen, like Patrick, to the task of being our God’s ambassador and servant.  We have been chosen to have the desire and courage to address and to deal with the serpents in our personal lives and global humanity remembering, in our apprehension, that even those bitterly complaining about their lives and God were given a way to life in Numbers 21:8, “The Lord said to Moses, ‘Make a snake and put it up on a pole; anyone who is bitten can look at it and live.’”  God give us eyes to see and ears to hear what God is offering us as a way to life in these days.  

Bob Bullard