Kilbennan St. Benin’s Church Window, Wikimedia

Today’s is St. Patrick’s Day.  Even though we might equate a celebration of Patrick as a saint in the Roman Catholic tradition, ELCA Lutherans are also keen to remember his life and witness by including him in our “official” annual commemorations.  Patrick, after all, lived as a missionary and bishop in 5th century Ireland, almost 1000 years before the reformation.  His story of bringing the tenants of our faith to Ireland (as practiced in that time) certainly remains in the hallowed traditions of the whole Christian church.

How have you celebrated St. Patrick’s Day over the years?  Do you find something green in your wardrobe to wear on this day?  Maybe you even have that one special item that you only wear on this day?  Food and drink customs are especially popular ways to celebrate on days like this.  I’m a fan of a good corned-beef & potatoes (no cabbage), some Irish soda bread, and a pint of Guinness.

For those who like a livelier scene, there are plenty of public celebrations to join in.  The river in Chicago was turned green earlier this week in preparation for today’s festivities in that city. My old home town in MT paints a green stripe down the middle of main street and resident’s enjoy a day-long pub crawl, following that green marker.  Closer to home, Prince of Peace members Ryan Miller & Bill Thornton will be with their Irish band, Release the Craiken, performing in two locations today (check them out at the Dubliner in St. Paul starting at 8pm).

There are so many stories and traditions attached to St. Patrick, most of which are likely to have been developed long after his death.  Whether it’s his teaching of the trinity using the shamrock, that he replicated Jesus’ 40-day fast on the top of a mountain, or that he banished all the snakes from Ireland, these legends persist as delightful reminders of the many mysteries of faith.  One remains certain, Patrick’s persistence resulted in the remarkable spread of God’s story among those who had not known it prior.  This is indeed something to celebrate.

May God’s hope embrace you this day.  -Pastor Peter

Let us pray…

We give thanks for the lives of all your saints, especially Patrick, missionary and bishop of Ireland, whom we commemorate today. Their hope in you sustained lives of faith and service. Encourage us with the hope they shared in you.  Amen.