Today is St. Patrick’s Day. Beyond the green beer and rowdy drunken debauchery that typically surrounds the occasion is a historical character that was God’s apostle to Ireland—forget ‘Saint’ this guy functioned as an apostle and a power evangelist with signs and wonders.
There is all sorts of stories about Patrick that today they call ‘myths’. I believe that a lot of the myths were probably based upon true events that seem far too supernatural for secular folks to accept today.
But who was this St. Patrick anyway? A man born into a Roman Christian family in Wales around 385 AD with the given name of Macwyn Succat. At age 16 he was taken from his home and enslaved by Irish Celtic raiders. He tended sheep for his new masters for 6 years and became closer to God in the process. The ‘voice of God’ directed his escape and later commissioned him to return to Ireland as a missionary. He went to seminary and became a Priest in preparation and later a Bishop.
He is recognized by all major Christian churches–Roman Catholic, Orthodox, Lutheran, and Anglican since he ministered before the church was divided into all the different denominations we have today. So Protestants have just as great a claim on him as Catholics. And those of us who have Welsh blood running through our veins have as much right to claim St. Patrick as any Irishman.
It is said in documents from that period that he “baptized thousands of people”, and ordained hundreds of priests to lead new Christian communities and villages. He also converted the sons of Kings and chieftains leading to the conversion of an entire pagan nation to Christ.
It is said that he was also a healer and that he prayed for hedges of spiritual protection surrounding Christian homes, churches, and whole villages. Legend has it that snakes were banished from the island in the process, though scientists today doubt there was ever any on the island. Nevertheless, Druid priests were forced leave and demons and evil principalities were cast out and challenged by St. Patrick.
Here’s an example of the spiritual condition of church that St. Patrick left behind—part of a prayer attributed to him but probably recorded a couple of generations later:
From “Saint Patrick’s Breastplate”:
Christ with me, Christ before me, Christ behind me, Christ in me, Christ below me, Christ above me, Christ to the right of me, Christ to the left of me, Christ where I lie, Christ where I sit, Christ where I stand, Christ in the heart of everyone who thinks of me, Christ in the mouth of everyone who speaks of me, Christ in every eye which sees me, Christ in every ear which hears me.
We could use this kind of spiritual maturity. What a great declaration to live by–an example for those seeking a Kingdom culture and economy.