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Saturday, March 17, 2012

St. Patrick's Day

Today is St. Patrick's day.  The day when the Irish gather together and celebrate their heritage and a day that those who are not Irish use as a socially acceptable day to party it up with lots of dancing and beer.  Well, I supposed the Irish do that too, but at least we are kind of known for our beer.  Anyway, St. Patrick's day is a day when everyone, regardless of their background wears a little bit o' green and takes a moment to give a nod to the wee folk of Irish legend.  But do most people even know who St. Patrick was, or why we celebrate him?
I didn't think so.
St. Patrick was the first Christian missionary to Ireland.  He was first brought to Ireland from England as a slave by pirates.  He spent several years as a slave, during which time he learned the language and customs of Ireland.  After a time he escaped back to England where he studied and became a priest.  One would think that after being forced to spend so many years as a slave in a foreign country, one would never want to go back.  But that was no the case with Patrick.  He felt God tugging on his heart, calling him back to Ireland.  Back then, Ireland was a very dark place.  They had never heard of God, Jesus or His word.  The Druids and their cultish magic ruled the land, and they did not take kindly to people who questioned them.  Patrick felt called to go back, regardless of the dangers.  So he did and to this day, a very large percentage of the Irish population subscribe to either Catholicism or Christianity.
After Patrick's death, the Catholic church declared him a saint and the Irish people dedicated the day of his death as a day they would take time to remember and be thankful for the man that brought them God's message of hope and forgiveness.  Over the years, like so many of the Christian holidays and festivals, St. Patrick's day turned into little more than an excuse to gather together, eat, drink and make merry.  But this year, why don't we take a moment, before we dive into our corned beef and cabbage meal to stop and thank the Lord for brave men and women, like St. Patrick, who were and are willing to give up the comforts of a "normal" life, to give everything they have with reckless abandon to the Lord for the sake of bringing Him glory and furthering His kingdom.
St. Patrick's day is big deal in my family for two reasons.  We are Irish.  If you know anything about the characteristics if the Irish, you could tell just by looking at my family.  We are all very interested in each others lives, you might call it nosy.  Most of us (myself included) can have quite the firecracker temper.  We are also Christians and we use this day also to talk about missionaries and thank God for them.  But see, missionaries aren't the only people who are called to live a life of reckless abandon.  God calls ALL Christians to live that way.  And, sometimes we need to be reminded of that.  All to often we get bogged down by worldly cares and forget that God calls us to cast all of that on Him.  I know I do.  So today, let's take a moment to thank the Lord for His care and rededicate our hearts and minds, giving everything to Him with reckless abandon.  Cause I don't know about you, but I want to be known as someone who was willing to give it all, one who followed no matter the cost.

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