In recognition of Saint Patrick’s Day, Bishop Ward shares the story of Saint Patrick, the missionary, sharing the Good News of Jesus Christ with the people of Ireland
Grace and peace to you in the name of Jesus Christ.
Happy Saint Patrick’s Day! March 17 was the day that Saint Patrick died many, many years ago in Ireland, at the end of a remarkable life. Saint Patrick was born into a wealthy English family. He was captured by slave traders and taken to Ireland and there, he was enslaved.
He escaped and went home to England and as he slept one night, he had a dream and the people of Ireland were calling for him to come back and to help them. So he did. He took a boat to Ireland and there, he began to preach the Good News of Jesus Christ.
He used the shamrock to help the people of Ireland understand the Trinity. He would hold it up and say, “Here it is. It is three and it’s one – three leaves and yet, one leaf. In the same way, God is three – the Creator, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit – and yet, God is one.”
Saint Patrick used all sorts of things around him – the shamrock leaf and also, simple fires. He would build a fire and as the fire burned and light shattered the darkness, he would demonstrate to the people the way the light of God penetrates every darkness on this earth.
All these years later, we have fun on Saint Patrick’s Day. It’s good to pause and give thanks for the life of this good saint, one of the great missionaries of the Church.
We United Methodists are a missionary people. We also probe the mysteries and the wonders of God, never fully being able to explain, but like Saint Patrick, holding up an image or a symbol, and realizing that God is indeed always a mystery, three and yet one; light shining in darkness.
May you have a happy and joyful Saint Patrick’s Day and may you have a sense of being God’s person, called in mission in the world. There are people saying, “Come, come over and help us!” Let us all go.