Patrick is well remembered for good reason, but his story is actually little known. We think of St. Patrick’s Day, all things Irish, green (or for some Protestants at least in Ireland, orange). But Patrick’s story is one of a man who relatively late in life put his life on the line for the sake of evangelizing the despised Irish, from whom he had escaped many years earlier. And what follows is a wonderful story of both the power and beauty of the gospel in its impact on Ireland.
Patrick put his life on the line for one thing: Jesus and the gospel. Of course he was thoroughly Trinitarian, a man of the church, and quite evangelical in his witness, that is gospel/good news oriented, which is what evangelical means. We who profess to follow Jesus should do no less. Whatever form our witness might take, it is to be a witness to Jesus and the gospel. And like Patrick, we can look to God to bring into creation the new creation in Jesus, to transform what is part of God’s image in culture into the full renewed image of God in Jesus. The best of Ireland and of the impact of the gospel on that nation is the beauty and joy which marked it in the change in Jesus that had come.
And so even though it’s Lent, a little celebration today is not out of the way, I think. Even as we pray that like Patrick, we will be those who by God’s grace are faithful to Jesus and witnesses: testifying in word, deed and life to the beauty and power of the gospel in and through the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.