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?