Friday, March 17, 2006

Green Day?

'In the last days, God says, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your young men will see visions, your old men will dream dreams. – Acts 2:17

Usage: Irish, English, French, German
Pronounced: PAT-rik (English), pat-REEK (French)
From the Roman name Patricius, which meant "nobleman" in Latin.

My eldest son, Joshua, asked me this morning who St. Patrick was. After hemming and hawing about getting rid of snakes I had to admit that I don’t know! So I did a little studying and this is the quick version of the story of a regular man led by God to accomplish extraordinary things.

March 17th...what's all they hype about? Green rivers, green beer, green clothes, getting pinched, finding four leafed weeds? Actually it's about one of the most powerful movements of God the world has known. It's about a man many believe was the first missionary to reach out to a "barbarian" people...or those outside the influence of Greco-Roman civilization.

Born in the late 300s under the name Succat in Roman Britain, actually in Scotland he was abducted in his teen years and sold into slavery in Ireland. There he served a hard chieftain for 6 long years. Those 6 years were attributed to his conversion from nominal Christian to one who regularly communed with God; it definitely must have been a shaping time.

One of the first of many dreams and visions came to him during this 6 years…he heard a voice saying, “See your ship is ready.” 200 miles away from the sea he escaped his master and boarded a ship back home to his family and familiar land, though he would never be able to recover those years both relationally or educationally.

At around the age of 40, having become an ordained Bishop and changing his name to Patricius latin form of Patrick, he finally heeded many visions and dreams that were calling him back to Ireland. His mission was simple, to reach the Irish where they were, converting their hearts to Christ not their culture to Rome or any other for that matter. He started with the chiefs. It is widely held that his former master, a chief himself, was one of the first to confess Christ.

The rest as they say is history although much is veiled in myth.

Did Patrick get rid of all the snakes in Ireland? No. It is widely held that there were no snakes in Ireland when Patrick was alive. These sources say that snakes were long since gone from Ireland during the Ice Age.

Many do believe that Patrick used the Shamrock to teach on the Holy Trinity.

Patrick, who is not canonized as a Saint by Rome, was not the first missionary to Ireland, Palladius holds that title.

It seems God used Patrick in a mighty way. One reference quoted this: “Patrick's ministry lasted 29 years. He baptized over 120,000 Irishmen and planted 300 churches.” Dreams and visions indeed!

What dreams and visions has God given me? Which ones am I heeding and which ones won't I even listen to? This Patrick...that lived 300 or 400 years after the Apostle Paul saw a vision of a people transformed by the living God. In fact, he seemed to care deeply for, at the time, a people thought lower than human because they were not Roman. Amazing! This is proof that the book of Acts certainly continues to be written...from Patrick's time to ours!