Celebrating Ireland’s Patron Saint

St Patrick Shamrock ImageAre you looking for a way to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day that doesn’t involve green beer, pinching people or scouring your closet for that one green shirt?  Then allow me to offer up some suggestions.  As an American of Irish descent, the Emerald Isle’s patron saint holds a special place in my heart.  So if you want to honor this hero of the faith in a real way, consider doing one or more of the following:

1. Start a Church

Patrick was a church planter extraordinaire.  It is estimated that he planted over 300 churches in his lifetime!  If you aren’t in a place to plant a church on your own, then support church planting organizations.  A great one in my state is the Virginia Evangelizing Fellowship (VEF).  Find a church planting group and donate your time, money or talents to it.  You won’t regret it!

2. Make Disciples

In addition to the 300+ churches that Patrick planted, he baptized over 120,000 souls, many of which were Druids and Celtic idolaters.  He went into an area that was hostile to Christianity and transformed it.  Today, when we think of Ireland we can’t help but think of the Church’s influence.  However, before Patrick arrived the island was a very dark place spiritually.

3. Combat Modern-Day Slavery

Patrick was most likely born in what is modern-day Wales.  He was kidnapped as a 16-year-old boy and enslaved in Ireland by a Druid chieftain.  According to legend, at the age of 22 he ran away to Britain, where he studied to become a priest, but his heart’s desire was to return to the land of his captivity to shine the light of Jesus there and end the cruelties of slavery.  Today there are more humans trafficked than at the height of the colonial slave-trade in the 1800s!  There are 27 million souls enslaved in sex trafficking circles.  If you want to honor Patrick, support groups that battle slavery every day.  A great place to start is here.

4. Love Your Enemy

This is something we all can do.  Instead of hating his slave-owners, or campaigning against them, Patrick returned to them with the love and message of Jesus Christ.  He chose extending grace over holding a grudge, and as a result an entire nation was transformed.  So instead of chugging down some green suds or risking harassment charges because you are too “pinch-happy”, how about you love on someone you know doesn’t love you back?  It just might transform their world for the better.

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