St. Patrick’s Day – Lá Fhéile Pádraig Sona Duit! Happy St. Patrick’s Day! Wearing green. Corned beef and cabbage…and my family background is Scottish…so a bit of a mix for us.
I am also planning to watch the David Kidd documentary Patrick. A friend who heard David Kidd speak shared the following with me via email – notes from his talk on the real Patrick (legends removed):
- He was born in 396 AD and died in 471 AD.
- Patrick was brought up in a Romano British Christian home somewhere in southwest Britain (his father was a deacon and grandfather a priest).
- He was kidnapped at 16 (didn’t really know God at that time), trafficked, and taken to the West Coast of Ireland where he worked as a shepherd and learned to speak Irish.
- As a slave, Patrick came to see the hand of God in his troubles. God broke through his defenses, and Patrick faced his unbelief and pride. Later he described how he turned to God whom he realized had been watching over him all the time. He became aware of God’s protection, and he discovered that God loved him as a father loves his son.
- Before this, he knew he had ‘sinned’ and believed that God punished him.
- God spoke to him in a dream about a ship coming to take him home. At 22, he managed to escape slavery.
- At home, he had another dream of the people in Ireland calling him back.
- He was obedient to the Spirit and went back to West Ireland (“the ends of the earth” at that time).
- He was beaten, harassed by thieves and robbers, admonished by his British superiors, but his work grew and he remained humble.
- He protested against injustice, esteemed women highly, and identified himself as Irish.
- His legacy was a vibrant Christianity which lasted hundreds of years while Britain and Europe fell into the Dark Ages.
On St. Patrick’s Day, what we can do to honor Patrick’s memory?
- The Past: Remember a humble man who had been mistreated, heard from God, obeyed, loved his enemies, lived his life for Jesus, and made a significant difference – not just in Ireland, but much of Europe.
- The Present: Use Patrick’s life to help people focus on what really matters…Christ Jesus.
- The Future: Be as faithful as Patrick and live for Jesus and His Kingdom – making a difference in this world with fruit that lasts.
Through slavery, Patrick’s life was essentially taken from him. In the loss of his freedom, he ultimately found Christ. That glorious salvation brought him eternal freedom. He managed to escape his slavery, but then surrendered his life, this time in his love for and obedience to God. returning to Ireland for the sake of the Gospel.
The strongest memories I have of the old Irish hymn Be Thou My Vision are connected with worship in North Africa. We sang it across three countries in Heliopolis Community Church (Cairo), St. George’s (Tunis), and St. John’s (Casablanca). When our children were growing up, we expat families, from various Christian denominations, gathered once or twice a week to worship in English. We sang great hymns, old and contemporary, with guitar accompaniment, and followed worship leaders with more British accents than American. Photo Credit: Eurobishop
I remember our little family, strung out along a pew of these little churches. Our stair-step children, with shoulders squared, singing from hymnals in the early years and then with lyrics projected on the stuccoed front walls.Before our children all launched back into life in the US, we “attended” traditional church less and became a part of house churches. There we still sang Be Thou My Vision, still with guitar…less with a British accent.
Back in the US, when we sing Be Thou My Vision, we are still reminded of its great truths and of other years, in other places, where His truth was being made known. In places where we prayed to see people as He sees them…and to love them as He loves.
[Movement Church, Adapted from the Archives]
Worship with me to the rendition performed by Welsh singer Noel Richards. A bit slower than I’m used to but it allows us to soak up the words in worship. Also, all five verses are included which is important.
Be Thou my Vision, O Lord of my heart;
Naught be all else to me, save that Thou art.
Thou my best Thought, by day or by night,
Waking or sleeping, Thy presence my light.
Be Thou my Wisdom, and Thou my true Word;
I ever with Thee and Thou with me, Lord;
Thou my great Father, I Thy true son;
Thou in me dwelling, and I with Thee one.
Be Thou my battle Shield, Sword for the fight;
Be Thou my Dignity, Thou my Delight;
Thou my soul’s Shelter, Thou my high Tow’r:
Raise Thou me heav’nward, O Pow’r of my pow’r.
Riches I heed not, nor man’s empty praise,
Thou mine Inheritance, now and always:
Thou and Thou only, first in my heart,
High King of Heaven, my Treasure Thou art.
High King of Heaven, my victory won,
May I reach Heaven’s joys, O bright Heav’n’s Sun!
Heart of my own heart, whatever befall,
Still be my Vision, O Ruler of all.*
Photo Credit: UTubers