Pastor’s Corner

Pastor’s Corner – Blessed St. Patrick’s Day!

Surprisingly, I have never written a pastor’s corner about Saint Patrick. At least I could not find one in my history! Usually, this time of the year I am writing about the chaos of Lent in the church, new staff, budgets, building projects, and final items as the ministry and school year begins their final phases.

I almost did that again this year as we once again are embarking on call committees, building updates and our own spiritual walk with the Lord as we approach the Cross and the Empty Tomb of Holy Week. I decided instead to take a moment and remember St. Patrick.

St. Patrick is a man surrounded by truth and myth. We celebrate St. Patrick’s Day on March 17th which commemorates the day of his death in 461AD. We do not have records as to the date of his birth, we only know he was born in Britain and at the age of 1 was captured and enslaved by invaders from Ireland. He was forced into hard manual labor for six years until he escaped.

Upon St. Patrick’s arrival in Britain, he was convicted in His Spirit to return to Ireland as a missionary and teach the pagan Nation of Ireland about the saving Good News of Jesus. Before his arrival as a missionary, Ireland worshipped the sun as their god and had many religious rituals. Instead of requiring the Irish to abandon all their cultural traditions, he taught them to consecrate them to God.

The invention of what we now know as the Celtic Cross is credited to St. Patrick and is thought to be the sun superimposed over the Cross. This is to remind them that Jesus is the creator of the Sun and all things worship Him! The Irish worshiped their gods by celebrating around bonfires; St. Patrick is said to have encouraged them to celebrate with fire at Easter time. He is also credited by using the locally popular three-leafed shamrock to teach the people about the nature of the Trinity of our Creator God.

What is true and what is legend about St. Patrick is somewhat difficult to prove. But what everyone agrees on is that St. Patrick was an instrument of God’s grace in Ireland. He did not remain bitter towards his captors, instead he shared the Good News of Jesus with his enemies. He was also generous in that He brought Jesus into their culture and encouraged them to worship him in a way that made sense to them and those around them rather than completely conform to the cultural ways of other believing people.

Upon his death, the Nation of Ireland had been transformed from a nation worshipping false gods to a place filled with faithful followers of Jesus. They had established churches, monasteries and schools to ensure the Good News would be shared with the future generations.

I pray regularly that I will be filled with generosity and sacrifice, similar to that of St. Patrick. Today I am inspired to add that my heart would be open with the same generosity and sacrifice not only for God’s people and unbelievers, but for my enemies as well.

Have a blessed St. Patrick’s Day and may your heart and mind be transformed by the Good News of Jesus Christ in your life. May He also inspire you to share that Good News with others in a way that they can receive it as well.

“And Jesus came and said to them, ‘All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.’” Matthew 28:18-20

His servant and yours,
Pastor Erik Gauss

Scripture Readings for Sunday, March 19, 2023
Romans 1:1-7; John 9:1-41


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