Christ within me, Christ before me. Christ behind me, Christ beside me. Christ beneath me, Christ above me. Christ to my right, and Christ to my left. Christ when I lie down and Christ when I arise. Christ in the heart of everyone who thinks of me, Christ in the mouth of everyone who speaks of me. Christ in every eye that sees me, and Christ in every ear that hears me. I arise today, through Your mighty strength, the invocation of the Trinity; through belief in the threeness, the confession of the oneness of the Creator of creation.
We all know that yesterday was St. Patrick's Day. No doubt, even if you had forgotten, you remembered as soon as you saw the extra green clothing being worn by those around you. (I'm sincerely glad I've gotten past the stage where people used this day as an excuse to pinch whoever wasn't wearing green.) But while most people were sporting that green, I took the opportunity to wear some pretty vibrant orange for most of the day. And I have a specific reason why.
There is an explanation as to why most people who wear orange on St. Patrick's Day do so. It all ties into the Irish flag, which has a green stripe and an orange stripe, separated by white. This is representative of the peace (white) between Irish Catholics (green) and Irish Protestants (orange) in the forming of the nation of Ireland. Many people who are not Irish or Catholic (or neither) use this as their reasoning for wearing orange, or at the very least not wearing green.
To an extent, this is part of why I wore orange yesterday, seeing as my heritage is primarily Scottish, and Protestant Reformers like Martin Luther are some of my personal heroes. But I was protesting something far bigger than what has become a rather petty dispute over colors.
When you think of St. Patrick's Day at this point in history, most people will think of green, getting drunk and a bunch of false myths about who St. Patrick was. The truth is, Patrick was a fervent missionary in the 5th century to the Irish people, the very people who had kidnapped him and brought him into captivity as a boy. He came to faith in Christ during this time of slavery, and he had a burning passion for spreading the good news of Christ for the rest of his life. He is primarily responsible for the vibrant light of the gospel shining forth on the island of Ireland.
And today people celebrate St. Patrick by using March 17 as a day to get utterly wasted or pinch people who don't happen to be wearing green. What if we took his day and made it a reminder of gospel fervency, not an excuse for sinful indulgence? That is why I wore orange yesterday. Not to protest the Irish or to be some kind of stick-in-the-mud, but to protest what the day has become. I pray for a love of the Scriptures like St. Patrick had, and a desire to share it with those around me as St. Patrick did. I want this to be true of my life:
I pray that you would have this same fervency for our Savior as well.
(For a more in-depth description of the life and ministry of St. Patrick, I would encourage you to read Mike Pettengill's article on The Gospel Coalition's blog from yesterday. Patrick was a man worth celebrating, and we ought to praise God for the work He did through this man.)
A simple servant of the Master.