This morning as I sat in front of my computer complete with green top and an orange to eat, and anticipating a yummy corned beef dinner later tonight, I started to realize that my plans for celebrating a man's life are stunted and shallow.
I'm sure I'm not the only Christian who didn't meaningfully anticipate the celebration of St. Patrick, a man whose influence spans the globe.
I should have re-read St. Patrick's Confessions, but I didn't. However, a good place to start the afternoon is contemplating the historical events that we do know about.
For instance: Most of you already know the story of the infamous 470 AD kidnapping of a 16-year-old son of wealthy British parents. Irish raiders abducted Patrick and took him to Ireland.
Without the protection of his family or the warmth of his home, Patrick was left in fields to shepherd sheep. Instead of growing bitter over this dangerous turn of events, however, Patrick became convinced his mission was to preach the word of God to the Irish pagans, and to spread the Gospel to the "ends of the earth."
After escaping his captivity, Patrick eventually returned to Ireland. The idea of going back to the people who hurt you with the good news of the Gospel is a startling revelation to most of the world.
As we continue to celebrate St. Paddy's Day, let's make sure to tell those with whom we are in contact he reason why this is such a fun celebration: Patrick's work was sucessful, and furthermore, he is a good example of a life well lived.
If you have an extra moment or two, I suggest you read my colleague T.M. Moore's article "Witness to Greatness." In it, T.M. discusses St. Patrick's obedience to God, two surviving pieces of writing, and other historical information.
Here's a toast to St. Patrick, who despite the seemingly endless time of suffering, was obedient to God the Father, who showed us that "Love never fails." (1 Corinthians 13)