Sunday is St. Patrick’s Day. It was never a big holiday in my family when I was growing up. We would wear green to avoid being pinched, but that was the extent of our celebration. A few years back, I read the history of St. Patrick and became much more enthusiastic about the holiday.
St. Patrick’s story is one of true forgiveness. Patrick was born in Roman-ruled Britain in the fourth century. His grandfather was a priest and his father a deacon. As a teenager, Patrick was kidnapped and held as a slave in Ireland. He was enslaved for six years and this time of struggle drew him closer to God. It’s said that he spent much of this time in prayer.
After six years in bondage working as a shepherd, Patrick felt God telling him to escape to the coast. Patrick did just that and found a ship that would aid him in returning home. He became a priest and at about 40 years of age, he returned to the land he was once held as a slave to share the message of Jesus to what was mostly a druid culture. Tradition teaches us that the Irish chief, Milchu, that had held Patrick as a slave for those six years was his first conversion.
Patrick was a very successful evangelist and became Ireland’s foremost saint.
The Bible teaches us that we should “Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you” (Matt. 5:44). St. Patrick’s life truly exemplifies this call on the life of a Christ follower.
Is there an enemy that you have that needs to hear the Gospel message? How can you move beyond the broken relationship and share the love of Christ with them?
Capt. Mark Cyr is pastor of the Salvation Army, 911 E. Second St., Carson City, Nev. 89701. For information, go to carsoncity.salvationarmy.org.