St Patrick

Yesterday I had the privilege of presiding at the Eucharist in the interfaith room of Glasgow University Chaplaincy. I hadn’t prepared a homily, as I wasn’t sure whether they were going to use the Sunday readings or those of the feast. It was St Patrick, so I improvised. Not that there was much to go on, for we know so little about him, and a great deal of  nonsense is written and spoken about him. Leaving aside the non-existent snakes, I have heard sober clergymen of the Church of Ireland claim, without a blush and without being struck dead on the spot, that the C of I was founded by St Patrick!

In any event, something occurred to me which I hadn’t thought before: he went back. He had escaped from the island where he had been enslaved, but went back in answer to the call of God. Surely a model for ministry and mission: especially when, even as I write, I know that Christian ministers are on their way to countries where to be a Christian is a danger to life. Would we go back, if we had escaped from such a situation?

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4 responses to “St Patrick

  1. The forgiveness would be as hard to find as the courage – the sort of compassion that Jonah had to find in the end.

  2. Agreed, Alison. If only that aspect of St Patrick’s work had been remembered by those who invoke his name, a lot of long-drawn-out feuds in Ireland might have been avoided.

  3. One of the aspects of the Holy Week story that was emphasized in our Church was a similar return by Jesus to Bethany to visit the tomb of Lazarus, despite the grave danger that this would have placed Him in.

  4. Good Dumbarton boy, oor Patrick!

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