Hello Baysiders! Hope all is well in your souls on this first day of March. I can’t believe its already two years since the world changed from Covid-19! Glory to God for keeping us together as a church and also for making us stronger through the pandemic.
One of my favorite cereals as a kid was Lucky Charms. I always asked my mom to purchase them when she went to the grocery store and it was a very good day when I saw them in the kitchen pantry. The mascot for Lucky Charms is a youthful leprechaun with a four leaf clover on his green top hat, who went around chasing a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, with, of course, a bowl of Lucky Charms in hand. Confession: I thought Saint Patrick was that little leprechaun on the cereal box. What can I say, my church history was weak as a seven year old. But all that to say, who is Saint Patrick? And why do we wear green on March 17th and get pitch if you and I don’t?
Google sheds some light for us by informing us that Saint Patrick lived during the fifth century and was the patron saint of Ireland. Born in Roman Britain, he was kidnapped and brought to Ireland as a slave at the age of 16. For years he lived a painful and drugged life as a slave. By God’s grace he later escaped back home with his family but only to return to Ireland and was credited with bringing Christianity to its people. He was determined and made it his object to help the Irish by preaching and teaching the gospel. In the centuries following Patrick’s death, (believed to have been on March 17, 461), his followers started an annual celebration of his life. Many years later the legend surrounding his life became ever more ingrained in the Irish culture by the most well-known feature of his story with his explanation of the Trinity (Father, Son and Holy Spirit) using the three leaves of a native Irish clover, the shamrock. The Irish have observed this day as a religious holiday for over 1,000 years and on Saint Patrick’s Day, which falls during the Christian season of Lent, Irish families traditionally attend church in the morning and celebrate in the afternoon. Modern-day celebrations and themes continued to take shape during the rest of the 1700s. In 1762, the first New York City parade took place. It wasn’t until 1798, the year of the Irish Rebellion, that the color green became officially associated with the day. Up until the rebellion, the color associated with St. Patrick was blue, as it was featured both in the royal court and on ancient Irish flags. But as the British wore red, the Irish chose to wear green, and they sang the song “The Wearing of the Green” during the rebellion, cementing the color’s relevance in Irish history. And that whole leprechaun thing started from the Celtic folklore which got attached to the season of Saint Patrick because it shares the same cultural history. As for why do you get pinched for not wearing green? Well, according to folklore, leprechauns like to pinch people and on Saint Patrick’s Day you get pinched for not wearing green because green makes you invisible to leprechauns.
What made Saint Patrick a legend was his commitment to a people to love. He surrendered his family and home life for total strangers and enemies. He is remembered this month by his determination and courage to face whatever dangers lay ahead, as well as the compassion and forgiveness to work among a people who had brought nothing but pain to his life. This is our encouragement for the month of March, to be determined to do what God has told us to do. Big or small, whatever the job is God has told us to do, to do it. Acts 20:24 says, “But my life is worth nothing to me unless I use it for finishing the work assigned me by the Lord Jesus—the work of telling others the Good News about the wonderful grace of God.” I wonder if Saint Patrick read that verse and was motivated to do the same with his life?