I was just thinking….

Published on Jun 22nd, 2017 by wpd-office | 0
I was just thinking....


Who was St. Patrick?  I probably should have written this in March!  However, I just now got around to it!  So often we think of St. Patrick as a little green man who liked clover!  And maybe he drank green Irish beer!  An article in the “Christian Century” magazine recently did a whole retrospective on the life of St. Patrick, and he was quite a person!  He was a lad from a wealthy English family, who was one day walking along the beach.  Irish longboats containing raiders came zooming up to the beach, captured him, and took him back to Ireland.  There they sold him into slavery, to a harsh master who made him the family sheepherder, sleeping out with the sheep in all kinds of weather and without a break.  He was with the sheep in the winter.  He was with the sheep in the summer.  Now this lad had never been much for church and God, but as he sat with the sheep all day and night and in all kinds of weather, Patrick began to pray and to think upon God.  After many years of being a shepherd, Patrick one day had grown so close to God that he heard God’s voice, telling him to run across Ireland and find a boat that would take him once more to England.  Patrick heeded the voice, escaped his master, and found the boat, across Ireland, that would take him to England.  By this time, however, his family had scattered and gone, so he sought out a monastery and made his home there.  Then, when Patrick was 48 years old (rather old for that time), he heard the voice of God again.  This time, the voice commanded him to return to Ireland, and to bring the Irish people to the knowledge and worship of God.  Patrick, needless to say, was reluctant to return to this land where he had been treated so badly, and yet, he found such goodness in the Irish people that he went.

In just 30 years, he had converted over half the Irish people to the way of Christianity.  One of my favorite stories is found in the book that I use for church membership.  In it, St. Patrick is baptizing an old chieftain of one of the Irish tribes.  After St. Patrick has dunked the man three times in the river, he notices a red stain rising out of the river.  Exclaiming, he realizes that, in using a stick to find his footing in the river, he has inadvertently put the stick through the chieftain’s foot!  The chieftain, however, graciously allowed that he thought it was simply a part of the ceremony of baptism!

The article, in seeking to discover why St. Patrick was so successful in converting the Irish countryside to Christianity, found that Patrick went about starting little enclaves outside nearly every village and tribal area.  He did not even talk about Christianity at first.  He just began to work with the villagers in growing their crops, working their land, and living their everyday lives.  Only after he had done that did he begin to teach the people about his God and his Christ.

And the article found one more thing that distinguished the work of St. Patrick–a thing that I really want to bring to our attention as well.  He had begun to see God in everything and everyone!!  What can that teach us today?  Not only is our center Christ Jesus, but Christ Jesus should be integral to our whole lives.  When we plant flowers or a garden, God is there, Christ is there.  When we see a child playing, God is there, Christ is there.  When we are in a store, every person we meet should remind us that God is in them, Christ is in them.  When we stroll by a lake or a stream or bayou, God is there, Christ is there.  When we are watching a drama or television, God should be there, Christ should be there. When lightning and thunder rock our world, God is there, Christ is there.  When we are driving down the highway, the people who whiz by us in cars are made in the image of God, and have something of Christ in them.  When we are in quiet contemplation, all the people that scroll past our conscious minds are people in whom is God and Christ.  Even, my friends, when we encounter someone we might consider enemy, God is there, Christ is there.  For St. Patrick, this world was only a prelude to heaven, and everyone and everything was stamped with God, stamped with Christ.  How surprised he must have been that, when he walked into heaven, everyone and everything were surely there to greet him!

Let us begin to use that same discipline today!  Before long, we too will see God and see Christ in everyone and everything.  Our love will be as wide as the oceans and as deep as the universe!  And who knows what we, too, can do with that!


Grace and peace to everyone!

Sonja Griffith, District Executive Minister






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