Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Happy St. Patrick's Day

World Record Attempt Promo
Why did we come to Ireland?

I've been thinking about this recently, and not because of the weather.  I've been thinking about it because St. Patrick's Day is just around the corner and I find myself heavily involved in the festivities in our home town this year.  I have the privilege of serving on a committee with a group of great people here in Wicklow Town.  We're having a great time preparing for what will be a couple of great days.

We have the annual St. Patrick's Day Parade on Sunday, March 17th but on Saturday, March 16th we're doing something absolutely crazy.  We're going for a "World Record".  Costumes have been ordered by a local business and we're hoping to have 1,000 people all dressed up as St. Patrick. (Watch for pictures) I can't wait to see young and old walking down the town together.  As I said, it's going to be a great weekend.

Anyway, back to why I was reflecting on why I'm here!  I was helping prepare for this, collecting support just outside the Bank of Ireland when a little old lady, putting a few cents in my bucket said... "he was a good man.... he loved us."  As she took her sticker, and walked away, I found myself pondering what she'd said... and I realized that in her words I found my voice. 

If you know St. Patricks story you know that he was kidnapped as a child and forced to shepherd sheep here in Ireland.  The story of his escape is incredible, but not as incredible as what happens next.  In a vision, he hears the voices of the people who had known him as a child shepherd, calling him to come back to Ireland... the specific words were... "come and walk among us".  That vision became the impetus for his return to Ireland.  He returned sharing Christ.... yet as he returned he didn't cloister himself away from the people calling them to Christ from a distance... rather he did just what the vision had suggested... He walked amongst the people... he entered their lives... he loved them. 

All that reminds me of what John shares about the coming of Jesus in the opening prologue of the Gospel of John where we read...

           "The Word became flesh and blood,
                   and moved into the neighborhood.
  Jn 1:14(MESSAGE)

As we have come to Ireland... we've sought to do the same... to enter the neighborhood, the lives of the people and in doing that we've found ourselves falling in love with the people we live with here in beautiful Ireland.

I keep thinking about that lady outside the Bank of Ireland and what she said about St. Patrick... and I find myself wondering... what might people say about me?  My prayer... Oh that they would echo the words of that little old lady and say about me.... "he was a good man... he loved us."  

AND if you're wondering... what is this love of which I speak... I go back to John, only this time his first letter where he writes these words....

"This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for one another. If any one of you has material possessions and sees a brother or sister in need but has no pity on them, how can the love of God be in you? Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth."  1John 3:16-18