St. Patrick’s Day is a celebration. There are parades, traditional foods, and wearing of the green. While I have never really understood dying beer green, I understand the desire for cultural celebrations. Yet, there is so much more to the person who became a symbol of Ireland. He teaches us about hardship, calling, and sharing our faith. First the hardship was when he was enslaved by Irish people. He was captured in his homeland and taken off away from his family and country. During his captivity, he prayed to God. While most of us are not literally taken prisoner, we are enslaved to things and situations. We cannot seem to free ourselves from the things which bind us. It may be a toxic relationship, an addiction, or anything that keeps us from the life God is calling us to live. It is only by God’s grace
e that Patrick was able to escape his captivity. It is only by God’s grace that we are able to escape the things which enslave us.
The second thing we learn from Patrick is to listen when God calls. We are often so busy in our own affairs, that we don’t give God room or time to speak in our lives. We are so over-tired that we do not remember our dreams. We are so overwhelmed by noise and activity that there is no chance for us to listen. We need those moments when we can say, like Samuel, “Speak Lord, for your servant is listening.” When Patrick listed, he was called back to the island and people of Ireland. He responded to their need. He responded to God’s call by returning to Ireland from Britain.
Finally, Patrick teaches us to share our faith. We can use ordinary means to reach out, explain, and communicate. Patrick used a shamrock to explain the Trinity. We can use the ordinary things around us to communicate our faith. Often, we say nothing. We don’t talk about what we believe. We tell ourselves that we don’t want to offend anyone. We tell ourselves that faith is too private to share with others. The truth is, we may be the only way another person will learn what it is to live a life of faith. Perhaps the most important lesson of St. Patrick’s Day is not learning about Irish culture, but sharing the Christian culture.