St. Patrick’s confession

5692057805_2a4b7d530b_zInstead of celebrating St. Patrick’s Day by just wearing green, making a big deal about being Irish, drinking green beer, or marching in parades, try reading the works of St. Patrick and reflecting on his Christian faith and convictions.

Observe St. Patrick’s Day this year by reading the great missionary’s own story, as he tells about his life and confesses his faith in Christ.

Read “The Confession of St. Patrick” after the jump.

Also read his beautiful poem/meditation/hymn “St. Patrick’s Breastplate,” also known as “Christ within me, Christ behind me, Christ before me.”

And read our earlier post The True Meaning of St. Patrick’s Day.  Note the link to How the Irish Saved Civilization and reflect, who is going to save it today?
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An object lesson for St. Patrick’s Day

Today is St. Patrick’s Day, a time to commemorate the former slave who escaped his masters, only to come back later to bring Christianity to the whole nation of Ireland.  By extension, it is a time to honor all missionaries.

St. Patrick, who lived in the 400s A.D., the time of the early church, was impressive for lots of reasons.  He is the author of the remarkable meditation/poem/hymn St. Patrick’s Breastplate.  It includes these lines, calling on Christ to be present with him in every dimension of his life:

Christ be with me, Christ within me,
Christ behind me, Christ before me,
Christ beside me, Christ to win me,
Christ to comfort and restore me.
Christ beneath me, Christ above me,
Christ in quiet, Christ in danger,
Christ in hearts of all that love me,
Christ in mouth of friend and stranger.

Applying so many prepositions to Christ reminds me of an object lesson that a Danish pastor offered at the conference I spoke at recently. [Read more…]

An Irish girl tells the story of St. Patrick


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The true meaning of St. Patrick’s Day

The true meaning of St. Patrick’s Day, which is today, is not to honor Ireland but to honor missionaries.  But we can honor Ireland too, which–thanks to St. Patrick and the church he brought to that island–saved civilization.  To celebrate the day, don’t just wear green.  Read this meditation by St. Patrick, which has been turned into a hymn and one of this blog’s most popular posts:  Christ within me, Christ behind me, Christ before me.

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Converting the barbarians

Today we express our appreciation to the Irish for saving civilization.  St. Patrick converted the Irish, who copied books from classical literature through the Bible and kept alive the ability to read them, as the barbarians ravaged Europe after the Fall of Rome.  The consequent “Dark Ages” (not to be confused with the Middle Ages!) lasted until the Irish and others  converted the barbarians to Christianity.

No offense to the “barbarians”–as they were termed by the Greco-Romans–who did, actually, have civilizations of their own, but these pagan warlike tribes really did settle down, once they accepted Christianity, giving us the High Middle Ages and the various nations of Europe.  So let’s give credit to St. Patrick, but also to those other missionaries who brought the Gospel to the ancestors of us European-Americans: [Read more…]

St. Patrick and other missionaries

Today is St. Patrick’s Day, so wear green or get pinched.  You may recall my crusade to use this day to honor ALL missionaries. Those of us of European descent had ancestors who also were brought to faith by missionaries no less than our fellow Christians in Africa, Asia, South America, and the rest of the world.  So lift a glass to St. Patrick who brought the faith to Ireland.  And lift a glass to St. Augustine of Canterbury who converted the English.  And lift another glass to St. Boniface who converted the Germans by cutting down the Tree of Thor without getting hammered.  You might get hammered if you lift a glass to all of the missionaries who deserve our thanks.  Those would include St. William Carey of India, St. James Hudson Taylor of China, St. Jim Elliot of Bolivia, and many more, including those who are bringing the gospel to people all over the world today.

Name the missionaries you know and support, and let us all pray for them today.