In Celebration of a Life Well Lived

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.

History is vitally important to Christianity. It teaches us not to take events, even bad ones, for granted because you never know how God will use them for His good purpose, and thwart Satan at every turn.

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)

Comments:

And Would Ye Be Notin’ Daffy’s Accent Here Now?
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http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j_ZtJ3S_-nQ

And did ye note the Derry Air in the background? (Neither did I, they irised the scene before the soloing Porky turned cloven heel and left.)

Finally, a box of green Milk Duds to the geographile (more neologisms) who can guess what County me ancestors come from. An obscure clue:

It seems there’s this duck from Hibernia
Whose favorite thing, I will wernia,
Is to pull people’s legs
Like the tap on the kegs;
Doubt my word and I vow he will lernia.

If you guessed County Offaly, you win not first, but second prize: an unsuccessful U2 project panned by critics who, claiming it fell short of earlier works, derisively referred to it as “sham rock”.

Daffy go bragh! Or, as many of you with an economy of words and a prodigality of emphasis are now saying: Daffy, go!
Well, being a historian does give certain advantages in knowing whether or not something is actually new, doesn't it Lee?
Kim, answering historical trivia questions with Jason can be as hazardous as, say, trying to be funnier than Rolley: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Ducksters , which contains a reference to Hesperus (the wreck thereof). I remember seeing that cartoon; imagine "Jeopardy!" combined with "Wipeout".

And I find it amusing to think of a historian actually inventing something new, even if a mere neologism...
Hespero, if I recall, refers to Ireland the way Franco refers to France. And phile usually means "fond feelings for". Hence the word which hasn't appeared in the dictionary but was obtained by piecing together common prefixes and suffixes.
Jason, I've not been called a "Hesperophile" before, nor have I seen the word, but tried to look up the meaning in dictionary.com...

Sounds like a disease or the name of a soda.
Never got around to reading "How the Irish saved civilization" but I do know what the green and orange means.

Funny though, I never was much of a Hesperophile. Maybe partly because so many other people are that they don't really need me.
Gina, How fun!

For the rest of us, here's a link to a Youtube.com rendition sung by The Dubliners.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=siQtzrI5w88
We sang "The Wild Rover" last night at my Bible study. :-) We really did. Our host put on a recording, and two of the guys who knew the song led the rest of us in singing along.
Lee, I was wondering if anyone would catch the green & orange allusion. I, being a Mere Christian and all, had to cover all the bases.

My corned beef and boiled veggies were delicious. My family and I gave a nod to St. Paddy as we munched our way through dinner.

Jason, Cahill's book is a good historical primer on this topic.

I'm ashamed to say, I forgot to ask others to join me in a toast, and also let me know what art, readings, songs, and family traditions they had.

I'd still love to know.

Well, God willing, there is always next year.
And a tip o' the hat to you, Kim, for this resolutely apolitical and ecumenical statement: "my computer complete with green top and an orange to eat". For years whenever I've forgotten to wear green on St. Patrick's I've told people it's because my lineage is Irish *Protestants*, so I should really wear orange, but on the other hand I don't want to start any fights. (The Irish in me would be obliged to finish 'em, of course...) So bravo for covering both bases yourself! :-)
Thomas Cahill's "How the Irish Saved Civilization" is not a Christian book - by any means - but it does provide fascinating background information on Patrick. In particular, his captors wore belts from which hung human skulls - the victims of the chieftan. It would certainly make even the bravest young man think twice about trying to escape.

The thrust of Cahill's book, though, is that without the monks who had become Christians due to Patrick, and who then spread across Europe, we would not today have much ancient literature. It was those monks who set about copying it, as side-work to copying the Bible. When Rome fell, and its libraries were burned, there were copies in monastery basements.

So as your copy of the Iliad sits dustily on your shelf, you can think of Patrick and how Homer wouldn't be known to you without Patrick going back to stare down those Irish chieftans.

And this, mind you, was merely a *side-effect*. It's rather like newly released felon Chuck Colson saying he wants to minister to prisoners and their families, and next thing you know there's a website or six where people can discuss worldview...




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