With so much personal family going-on’s around St. Patrick’s Day I didn’t really have time to talk much about St. Patrick himself this year. Yesterday my pastor, Jeff Kackley, decided to do some research himself on the life of St. Patrick. He discovered, like I did as a teacher, that children’s books are the best source to use for basic facts coupled with interesting side stories.
What he discovered is that there isn’t a lot of information about St. Patrick’s personal life and that most of what we know has come down from his own journal style writing… (Of course first-hand accounts are always the best.) Pastor Kackley was most surprised at the fact that there were Christians already living in Ireland before St. Patrick arrived so he didn’t exactly bring Christianity to Ireland but he certainly did spread the good news and built a lot of churches along the way.
Devotionals Daily had some interesting tidbits on St. Patrick from their editors.
“Happy St. Patrick’s Day from all of us at Devotionals Daily! Patrick spread the Word of God across Ireland after he was kidnapped by pirates at age fourteen and sold as a slave to be a shepherd. He later escaped back to his homeland of England where a few years later he was given a vision from God to study for the priesthood, be ordained, and then return to Ireland.
Through all his sufferings his faith in the Lord was tested again and again but the obstacles never deterred him. Patrick went on to preach the Gospel all across Ireland (famously using the shamrock as an analogy for the Trinity) and built churches there to the glory of God. *The quote in this devotional (post title) is from his poem of trust in God called “The Breastplate.”
Many of you have seen the latest Colgate toothpaste commercial called the “Close Talker.” We watch as a businessman talks to his peers around him standing practically nose to nose to them…all the while proclaiming he has confidence in his breath due to Colgate. (I think they took this idea from the Jerry Seinfeld series when one of Elaine’s new creepy boyfriends was a “close talker”… driving everyone backwards trying to put some distance between him and them.)
In kindergarten didn’t we all learn to respect each other’s personal space? (As it was called back then) I remember my first grade teacher taking us out on the sidewalk in front of the school and letting us draw a circle around ourselves with chalk. We were to always stay that far away from another when speaking so as not to make the other child uncomfortable.
Yet St. Patrick is telling us that Christ can be beside, before, behind, beneath, above, and within each of us. God is definitely not just up in heaven somewhere…He is down here as close to us as our heart and soul is. I find this quite comforting when I feel His presence around me when I am reading or watching television or whatever…He is always welcome company.
From Encouragement Today….Samantha Evilsizer
“You Are Never Alone”
“Miss Emma’s wrinkled hands cupped my chin, her palm a reservoir for my tears. I walked down the hallways saying tearless good-byes to 119 other nursing home residents, and yet my farewell to her released a levee of pent-up emotions. I couldn’t abandon her. It felt utterly wrong to leave her alone, forsaken in this dark place.
My first “real” job at this institution — which my coworkers and I referred to as “The Brick” — would have been bleak if not for Miss Emma and a few others. Over the one year I worked there, I didn’t allow many details of this place to get beyond the surface of my heart. Yet one name, one person, was chiseled there deeply: Miss Emma.
I perched on the edge of her bed, the edge of our good-bye, unable to leave her. Who’ll sit in the sunshine with you? Who’ll listen? Who’ll sing hymns with you?
Visions of Miss Emma alone left me aching for her. But she was bright with hope. Her beautiful brown eyes brimmed with confidence.
“I’ll be fine, sugar,” she said. “I’m never alone. Don’t you realize the One who created the sun sits with me? He listens always, hearing my prayers and needs. His presence is in the very words we sing to Him. Child, we’re never alone.”
Tucked away from the world, Miss Emma changed mine. She lived securely rooted to the Vine. She read the words of Scripture and tethered herself to Jesus’ love through worship and prayer. Miss Emma lived in the truth of St. Patrick’s prayer:
Christ beside me, Christ before me, Christ behind me, Christ within me, Christ beneath me, Christ above me. ~ St. Patrick
So until tomorrow… Let’s all remember that we are never alone…even when we fall into our own personal wilderness of sadness or depression God can find us. He sees, He cares, He pursues, and He is always with us. Invite Him in.
“Today is my favorite day” Winnie the Pooh
What’s New in the Garden?
Two more days until spring…Hallelujah! Welcome Spring…We Love You!
*More exciting news! Anne’s Irish friends have arrived and Martin De Porres Wright will be doing a presentation on Bogs and “The Twelve Bens” demonstrating his unique use of peat dust in painting and sculpture. Please mark this on your calendar, March 23 from 4-8 at Anne’s home. See the invitation below for more details.
*( I got to meet Martin and his wife at church today and they are so nice…they will be staying with Anne for a little over a week taking time to see the Lowcountry and taste the cuisine. )
*Chelsey came over this afternoon and asked if she could borrow my car keys…she and Luke were washing their cars…and wanted to wash mine also while they were at it. *Not only did Surcie get a bath but the car also got a “detailed” cleaning inside also
*All I could think of was the song “Something Good” from the Sound of Music when Julie Andrews sings that somewhere in her youth or childhood she must have done something good to deserve this love she had found. I feel the same way…I must have done something good (somewhere in my past) to deserve neighbors like Luke and Chelsey! Surcie is going to go prancing down the streets today!