Wednesday, March 17, 2010
Wearing Green and Pinching People
March 17: The life of Saint Patrick is remembered today not because March 17 is the day he was born, rather it is the date of his death. So, who was Saint Patrick? I think his story is pretty awesome. Patrick was born in England and was the grandson of a priest. When he was 16 years old he was taken captive and carried off to Ireland as a slave. He served as a herdsman during his slavery in Ireland, and after six years he heard a voice telling him he would soon be free. He responded to the voice by fleeing from his master and finding a ship in port over 200 miles away that would take him home to England. For most people in that situation that would be where the story ended, but for Patrick it was only the beginning.
A few years after returning home he had a vision where a man handed him a letter which read "The Voice of the Irish" across the top. The body of the letter contained a plea for him to return to Ireland in order to preach the gospel. Responding to this vision from God, Patrick soon returned to the land where he once had been enslaved. He spent the rest of his life in a place where he once had no freedom, so he could tell the Irish people how to be free in Christ. I've always thought that the story of Patrick is a pretty cool example of how God can take what could be the worst part of our life and use it for His glory. Who was better qualified to carry the gospel to Ireland than a man who had lived there for six years as a slave? What a great reminder that whatever situation you find yourself in today, even if it is not what you had planned, God can use you there to do something amazing.
While people celebrate Saint Patrick today by wearing green shirts, drinking green beer, putting goofy clover leaf hats on their heads, and then pinching anyone not wearing green, remember that the real story of Patrick the slave boy means so much more.