Today is St. Patrick’s Day. Many cities will host large celebrations to celebrate Irish heritage. These celebrations often involve parades, brisket, and lots of beer.
Our American St. Patrick’s Day festivities have very little to do with the life of St. Patrick.
Here’s 5 ways to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day, without beer and brisket.
1. Celebrate as a Family
Patrick was kidnapped as a teenager. Removed from his family in Britain, Patrick was forced into slavery in Ireland. Honor the years Patrick was forced away from his family by doing something creative and fun as a family. For our family, this always includes a very green meal. Besides being lots of fun, it creates great family memories.
2. Work to End Modern Day Slavery
Patrick lived as a slave from age 16 until he escaped at age 21. It’s easy to think that slavery is something that used to happen, but slavery is still an evil in the world. 29 million people live as slaves today. We can honor St. Patrick by working to abolish modern slavery.
Learn about the evils of Modern Day Slavery at International Justice Mission.
Pray for God to change the heart of traffickers and for the release of slaves.
Purchase goods from rescued slaves to help support their new life. Check out the Fields of Hope store.
Give to support the mission of organizations who are rescuing and healing slaves. A few suggestions: International Justice Mission, On Eagle’s Wings, Stand Against Trafficking.
Patrick became a person of prayer. A great way to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day is to spend time in prayer. St. Patrick’s Breastplate is a beautiful prayer attributed to Patrick. Why not pray it today?
Christ with me,
Christ before me,
Christ behind me,
Christ in me,
Christ beneath me,
Christ above me,
Christ on my right,
Christ on my left,
Christ when I lie down,
Christ when I sit down,
Christ when I arise,
Christ in the heart of every man who thinks of me,
Christ in the mouth of everyone who speaks of me,
Christ in every eye that sees me,
Christ in every ear that hears me.
I arise today
Through a mighty strength, the invocation of the Trinity,
Through belief in the Threeness,
Through confession of the Oneness
of the Creator of creation.
-From St. Patrick’s Breastplate
Find the full prayer at Seedbed.
4. Write a Letter to Missionary
After escaping from slavery in Ireland, Patrick returned to Britain. However, he believed that God was calling him to return to Ireland to share the good news of Jesus. Patrick may have been the first cross-cultural missionary. He returned to Ireland and shared the love of Christ with people who knew nothing of Jesus. His mission to the Irish people was so successful that he became the patron saint of Ireland.
Honor Patrick’s missionary work by writing a letter to a missionary. Tell them thanks and let them know you are praying for them. The encouragement may mean more to them than you know.
Don’t know a missionary? Here’s a few.
5. Love Your Enemies
Jesus commands his followers to love their enemies. Patrick lived this command. Though forced into slavery in Ireland, Patrick did not grow to hate the Irish people. Rather, he loved his captors. He invested his life among his former enemies, reaping a harvest of love. Patrick reminds us that loving service is more powerful than vengeance.
Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day by living as St. Patrick. Show love to your enemies.
Do you desire vengeance because you were wronged? Pray and release the situation to God instead.
Are there people you just don’t get along with? Seek their good.
Have you been taught to hate a group of people? Serve among them and learn their stories.
Feel free to pinch someone who isn’t wearing green today. But let’s celebrate St. Patrick’s Day in ways that honor Patrick’s life and ministry.
Now, please excuse me. I have to go finish wishing some missionaries a Happy St. Patrick’s Day.