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From the Clergy: Canon Young

March 17 conjures images of shamrocks, leprechauns, and parades, complete with green beer in some select locations. St. Patrick’s Day gets a lot of attention in places like Savannah and Chicago where the rivers are reportedly dyed green in celebration, inviting crowds to party in the streets. Our popular rendition of this Irish-themed holiday has significant religious roots, however.

Patrick was a fourth-century bishop who became known as the Apostle of Ireland. He planted churches, evangelized new converts, and in many ways cemented a Christian presence on the Emerald Isle. As a teenager, Patrick was captured and taken to Ireland as a slave and was given the task of a herdsman. In his Confessions, Patrick wrote, “The Lord opened my senses to my unbelief … more and more the love of God and fear of him grew strong within me, and as my faith grew, so the Spirit became more and more active.” Upon his escape and return to Britain, he gave his life to the service of God, who sent him back to the land of his enslavement for the ministry of evangelizing the Druids.

Instead of frivolity and partying, it may be proper to remember Patrick’s legacy by recalling the words of what has come to be known as St. Patrick’s Breastplate. In olden times, prayers were often written out and placed on the shields of soldiers and knights as they went into battle. “Christ with me, Christ before me, Christ behind me, Christ in me, Christ beneath me, Christ above me … Christ when I lie down, Christ when I arise ….”

Imagine such reminders as you and I start our day! What if before the important meeting or the difficult conversation or the dreaded interaction, we reflected on the truth of the gospel – that if God be for me, who could be against me? That I go not as an orphan but as a child of God, beloved and redeemed in the sure and certain work of Jesus Christ. That I am not my own, because I was bought with a price. That the greatest truth of my life is not my reputation, status, or resume – but that I am claimed as Christ’s own and belong to him forever.

– Adam

Colossians 1:27b

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