If you are like me then the only thing you know about St. Patrick is the beer and the color green. You also know that if you don’t wear green, and your friends are childish, you will receive pinches of love until you throw on an article of clothing with a shade of green. While this is fun, how much do we actually know about St. Patrick? What I found next was so compelling that his story is only comparable to the stories found in Scripture.
Here are a few facts about him (gathered from Relevant Magazine and the National Catholic Reporter):
1. He was a Brit who was kidnapped and forced to shepherd a flock in Druid-ruled Ireland, and would spend hours a day in prayer and practicing the presence of God while dreaming of returning home.
2. He walked 200 miles to freedom.
3. After he returned to his parents affluent lifestyle, he felt compelled by God to become a priest and return to Ireland, which at the time was a slave and sacrificial culture. Upon his return he paid his former slave owner the price for a slave to gain his freedom and seek reconciliation with his former master.
4. St. Patrick was not the first missionary to Ireland but was the first missionary to bear fruit by putting the trinity in context with the shamrock and planting a church in a quieter village. Working out from his small church, he slowly spread the Gospel until the point where he was able to see 12,000 people come into the Kingdom in one day.
5. Rather than snakes (the legend), he saw an abolition of the slave trade through his loving example and proclamation of the Kingdom of God.
6. Thomas Cahill, who is one of the world’s most well known historians, said this about St. Patrick: “The step he took was in its way as bold as Columbus’, and a thousand times more humane.”
7. St. Patrick was said to have performed many wonders among the people, driving out demons and healing the sick wherever he found them.
Does any of this sound familiar?
Moses himself was called out of foreign land to find that God wanted him to go back to the very place that he despised. Jesus left his home to spend time in the desert, only to return to begin his ministry empowered by the Spirit.
What does this tell us?
Sometimes God will call us out of something, only to transform us so we can return to the very place to bring healing and transformation.
Lastly, what is evident in his life is that the message he embodied and proclaimed had real implications with the way people lived. In not only setting slaves free, but seeing the complete end of slave culture using nonviolent means, he also helped others see the equality and value of women in society.
Moral of this story: When the Kingdom of God invades, it changes the consciousness of a nation, not just a church.
What if God is calling you out of a situation, only to send you back in the authority and power of God?