The Spring Equinox is March 21st but there is another day that means the beginning of spring to many people. That day is March 17th, St Patrick’s Day. A day originally celebrated as a time of spiritual renewal it was a time to pray for missionaries and to renew relations with God. Today it is celebrated as a secular holiday. Our memories reflect that Instead of being a quiet day of prayer it has become a time for parades, parties, festivals, and beer drinking.
Even people who have no Irish background still wear green and take part in the festivities.
St Patrick was not Irish. He was born in Wales but was kidnapped as a teenager and taken to Ireland where he worked as a slave. After six years he escaped and returned home. Feeling a strong calling to return to Ireland as a missionary he went to Gaul to begin religious studies. His experience as a slave taught him Irish traditions, and he used that knowledge in his missionary endeavors. His work of establishing monasteries, schools, and churches contributed to his success in spreading Christianity to an entire nation. He is believed to have died on March 17,
A significant and usually overlooked fact is that he believed God had called him. He went to Ireland as a slave for men and became a slave for God. Now more than 1500 years later, this Welsh man represents the entire Irish nation
Just as God prepared St Patrick for his mission, I believe God will take us through what we need to go through to prepare us for where He wants us. Whether its hardship, poverty, or notoriety, He’ll use that situation to prepare us for the next event in our lives. We may not like our circumstances, or understand why God seems to have forsaken us. But God can see the beginning and the end. He knows the calling He has placed on our lives, which is irrefutable, and He can train us to be what He wants. At sixteen St Patrick was still a pagan. He did not know the impact his life would have. How many pig pens did he have to clean before he would become a saint? The answer is as elusive as how many leprechauns can dance on the head of a pin?
March 17th is a good times to examine where we are. Then remember that God can use our current situation to train us, and lead us to do the job He has prepared for us. The shamrocks, the Irish food, the music, and the dance are fun to celebrate.But during the celebration let us remember we are celebrating what God can do with willing people. And if we feel Him calling, let us follow His lead. Who knows what influence we will have? Perhaps a thousand years later, we may represent an entire nation.