Thursday, March 17, 2011

St. Patrick

"So, success attend St. Patrick's fist,
For he's a saint so clever;
Oh! he gave the snakes and toads a twist,
And bothered them forever!"
- Henry Bennett

     When we hear that it is St. Patrick's Day many things come to mind: the color green, pots of gold, leprechauns, corn beef and cabbage, etc. But who was this St. Patrick? Sadly many do not know his story, but St. Patrick was a vessel of God: he was the first Christian missionary to go to Ireland.

     St. Patrick was born in Britain, and at the age of sixteen he was captured by Irish raiders. He was a slave in Ireland for the next six years. But God used Patrick's captivity as a part of a bigger plan; for while he was bound in Ireland, Patrick came to know Christ. When he was twenty-two, Patrick escaped from Ireland and returned to his home land. But Patrick felt God pulling him back to Ireland; he was called to show the love of Christ to the Irish tribes. 

     When preaching to the people of Ireland, it is said that Patrick used a three-leaf clover to represent the unity of the Trinity. It's no wonder that the clover is now seen everywhere on St. Patrick's Day! But now it symbolizes "good luck," instead of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit (not that you need an image to do that).

     St. Patrick spent the rest of his life ministering to the Irish, but it wasn't easy for many of the tribes wanted him dead. However, he persevered and God used him to spread the Gospel among the land. So this St. Patrick's Day, instead of thinking of good luck, pots of gold and leprechauns, remember the young slave who was captured and brought to Ireland. Remember how God can use the most unlikely circumstances for His glory.

"And we know that for those who love God all things work together for his good, for those who are called according to his purpose."
- Romans 8:28 (ESV)

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