The Man Behind the Holiday

20170313_132214Last week during our six-day power outage, Kellie, the kids, and I were killing time at Meijer while enjoying a heated building! 🙂 While we were wandering up and down the aisles, I came across their display of stuff for St. Patrick’s Day (see picture). And it reminded me of a blog I wrote a few years back. Here is an updated version of it. Enjoy!

St. Patrick’s Day is an interesting cultural phenomenon in my opinion. Those with even an ounce of Irish blood in their body are sure to be dressed in green today. The Chicago River will be dyed green. Irish pubs will be packed to the rafters with green colored beer as the drink of choice. And it’ll be a huge bar day for the non-Irish as well.

For years I thought the previous paragraph pretty much summed up what St. Patrick’s Day was supposed to be all about. Sure, I knew it was named after some Irish guy named Patrick, but I honestly had no idea what he did to get himself a holiday on our calendars.

Then I did some research and was blown away. And that’s why I am writing this blog. To give you a snapshot of the man behind the holiday.

St. Patrick was born in the 4th century in Scotland (he died on March 17, 461… hence the reason why St. Patrick’s Day is March 17 each year).

He was born into a wealthy home and lived a life of privilege. His family’s money came from the profession of Patrick’s father — he was an officer in the Roman army.

However, when Patrick was 16-years-old, everything changed. Patrick was captured by Irish raiders who were attacking his family’s estate and he was subsequently transported to Ireland and sold into slavery.

Can you imagine that? Going from a life of privilege to a life of chains.

For the next 6 years, Patrick was a slave in Ireland.

But in his 7th year of captivity, in his memoirs Patrick described how he had a dream where a voice spoke to him — God’s voice — and told him to escape and how to do so. The details are sketchy but somehow he made it back to his homeland. Here is where the story becomes fascinating….

God was not done speaking to Patrick.

While back home safe and sound in Scotland, Patrick had another dream. He felt God told him to return to Ireland as a missionary! And Patrick said YES.

He began his religious training which led to his ordination as a priest and then a bishop. In 432 A.D. Bishop Patrick returned to the land where he was enslaved (imagine that!) to share the love of Jesus Christ with the Irish. God blessed his obedience with a fruitful ministry.

In fact, books have been written including How The Irish Saved Civilization that credit Patrick’s missionary efforts for saving Europe and Western Civilization as we know it from the Huns and other barbarian tribes.

You see, St. Patrick’s Day should be about much more than green beer and clothing. It should be a reminder to all of us that God calls us to radical obedience. It should be a reminder that “Faith” is spelled R-I-S-K. It should be a reminder of Jesus’ words: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me.” (Luke 9:23)

***St. Patrick had no doubt what his mission was. What about you? What’s your purpose in life? And how does it relate to the mission Jesus said He had, a mission He says He actually completed BEFORE He went to the Cross? My sermon is titled “The End of the Beginning.” Please come to church this Sunday March 19, 2017 at 10:30am… and stay for the party! We’ll have catered lunch, entertainment and fun for “children” of all ages including our Family On Mission campaign reveal! More info at***


About Dan Kopp

In 2010 Dan and Kellie felt the call by God to plant a church somewhere in Macomb County, Michigan. Several months later The Eastside Vineyard Church launched and currently meets inside Shelby Jr. High in Shelby Township. This blog began in the pre-launch phase of the church and has exceeded 50,000 hits. Thanks for reading!
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