“What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him? If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and filled,” without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that? So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.”n(James 2:14-17 ESV)
I got curious today and did a little research on what exactly it is that we are celebrating on Paddy’s Day. Turns out there is quite a story behind this day commemorated with green beer and day-long parties.
In the fifth century 16-yr old Patrick was kidnapped and taken from his native land of Britain and forced to work as a slave in Ireland. Try that one on for size. 16 yr old boy smack in the middle of his teenage years was kidnapped and forced into slavery in Ireland. Ironically, this practice is still more commonplace today than we care to admit. Patrick would eventually escape Ireland to return home to his native Roman Britain. However, he returned to Ireland later as a missionary bent on spreading the saving message of the Gospel to the very people who once enslaved him. Literally, the kid who was once ripped from his family, homeland, and culture to work as a slave in a foreign country later turned around and tried to bring a message of love, forgiveness, and grace to them. Patrick is the model for what will happen when Christ infiltrates your heart; all of the sudden your enemies look less like enemies and more like sinners in need of the grace of Christ.
St. Patrick is commemorated on March 17th every year for brining the good news of Christ to Ireland and acting as the first missionary to bring that message to the Irish. We have turned a holiday designed to memorialize the self-sacrifice of a Christian missionary into something it was never intended to be. Seems awfully ironic to me.
I wanted to take a second and mention the real reason for the holiday and remind folks that amidst our green beer, shamrocks, and leprechauns the real reason we’re celebrating is because one man decided to take his faith and put it to work. St. Patrick didn’t allow his faith to just be an addition to his resume or a compartmentalized piece of his life. He took James 2:14-17 seriously and put his faith to work. He leveraged the Gospel and its conviction for the good of a country and his faith spread across its tribes. Shamrock or not, the truth we should be celebrating today is that Christ died for our sin so that we might be saved from our own depravity and that St. Patrick was so changed by this truth that it forced him to act.
Makes you think twice about green beer, shamrocks, and leprechauns.
Article for further review on St. Patrick’s Day: http://www.history.com/topics/st-patricks-day
On a sidenote, Team Deep stepped up again this week and still sits atop the leaderboard for the region. I couldn’t be more proud of our team right now. They have worked their butt off all year and now are getting to really see where they match up. Great work!