Happy St. Patrick’s Day

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

It’s a great day to listen to Irish tunes and day-dream about strolling glen to Irish green glen hoping to hear the pipes “a-piping”.

But who is St. Patrick and why do we celebrate this day?

I checked it out on Got Questions.*

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St. Patrick (Maewyn Succat) was born in Kilpatrick, Scotland to a wealthy family in the late 300s. He was kidnapped at age sixteen by Irish raiders. While he was enslaved in Ireland he learned the culture, rituals and Druid language. He eventually escaped Ireland and later returned to share Christ with the people there.*

Not only did Saint Patrick forgive, he went back to those who enslaved him. He went back; not to demand retribution or justice, but at the risk of re-enslavement he returned to care for the people who had served him injustice.

Saint Patrick was obedient to the call of Christ. Additionally, Patrick exercised profound wisdom and grace. He used wisdom recognizing that his time as a slave provided him with valuable insight. Patrick took the knowledge he gained of the culture and used it to engage the Irish within the culture they knew while pointing to Christ with truth and love.

The Irish people were receptive to Patrick’s teachings in large part because he used their own Celtic symbols to teach them Christ’s ways. The most well-known of Patrick’s illustrations is the shamrock, a certain type of clover sacred to the Druids, which he used as a symbol of the Trinity.*

Who knew?! And what a great reminder to ask ourselves, “Are we so in love with Christ that we are compelled to live intentional; sharing news of our Redeemer with everyone –even those who deal wrongly with us?”

Like St. Patrick, we always have experience to share and something –even a three leaf clover with which to tell of our three in one; the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

Whether you wear green today or not, do think about the example of St. Patrick and consider who you can reach to in love and acceptance. Meet them within their unique “culture” and share the truth of Christ and His Kingdom.

Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Matthew 28: 19-20 NIV

Photo courtesy of unsplash.com

Why I Love to Run

I love to run. I fell in love with running in the 4th grade, at a time when my self esteem had shattered.

I was “slow” in school.  I was slow to read and comprehension was a challenge.  New math concepts perplexed me.  I had to go to summer school and was frustrated when everyone else “got it” and I didn’t.  But I was the apple of my daddy’s eye, and having a strong family compensated for my “slowness”.  Dad had a way of making me feel strong and smart.

Things changed the day mom told me she and dad were getting a divorce.

Divorce inflicts far more damage than most realize. It’s not only a separation of a man and woman, but the heart and identity of the children as well, maybe even more so.  My value as a worthwhile part of a bigger whole vanished.

When my self-esteem shrank, so did my handwriting. It was so small my teacher couldn’t read my work.  Dad wasn’t there to help me with school work, and I gave up trying.

I remember my teacher, Mr. Cusson, trying to convince me that I would be better off if I would “apply” myself. For what? For who?  And HOW?!

Mr. Cusson eventually resorted to restricting me from recess every day. For months, after lunch when all the other kids darted out the door to play, I was left to sit and stare at the chalkboard, pretending to be invisible.  I hated it when the other kids came back to see me still at my desk. I wanted to hide.

When Mr. Cusson had enough eye strain from my feeble attempts at schoolwork, he gave me a new seat assignment; a desk, wedged between a piano and the blackboard at the front of the class. Isolated and exposed as a failure, I wished I could disappear entirely.

Then, one spring day we had “Field Day”. There were potato sack races, egg tosses, and tug of war. The event that I remember best was the race around our little gravel field. I was outside and I was free!  I put all my loneliness and frustration into that race.

Mr. Cusson finally had something to praise me for. I can still hear him yell, “Go Shelly! Go!”.  Suddenly I felt alive. I pumped my awkward, skinny legs just as fast as I could.

Those simple words from Mr. Cusson changed my life.  I fumbled thru school work so I could go to recess and RUN. I worked hard to I could play kick ball just to RUN. I looked for reasons to run, because it made me feel alive!

I didn’t come to know Jesus personally until years later. When I embraced Him, it was with the same sense of freedom and life that I first got a taste for with running.

I know what it is to train long and hard (mentally and physically!). There’s a thrill that rushes thru your limbs when you cross a finish line.

But really, it’s not about speed or distance or even the finish line. It’s about the path you’re on and people you encounter. When I run, I feel Christ’s presence.  It’s life pumping through me, knowing I’m IN THE RACE.

And really, life is a marathon!