St Patrick’s Day 2020
We are indeed living in strange times. Very few of us can remember experiencing a St Patrick’s Day like this. All of the huge changes to what we normally do on this day can feel very disorientating. So much of Ireland coming to a halt and shutting down. There is certainly a feeling of anxiousness and worry, not just about the virus but also about jobs and income. It is at these times I tend to look to the lessons and experience of the past. Knowledge of history can bring wisdom and comfort. I often think of the words of God given through the prophet Jeremiah: “Thus says the Lord; “Stand by the crossroads, and look, and ask for the ancient paths, where the good way is; and walk in it, and find rest for your souls”. Jer 6:16 I was reflecting this morning on all the St Patrick’s Days of the past, all the different moments our past Christian generations have experienced on this date. We as a Church have prayed for St Patrick’s intercession in good times and bad. Today we often tend to have short memories and only remember recent times which then shapes our ideas and feelings so much.
But our people of faith have looked to St Patrick’s protection in war, persecution, famine, disease and fear, as well as times of calm, abundance and prosperity. Countless Irish generations, including St Patrick himself, looked to Christ as their rock and comfort in the worst of times both as a nation and in their individual life journeys. In Him they found strength, comfort and peace that enabled them to move forward with hope and renewed strength. The Lord tells us through the prophet Isaiah; “Can a mother forget her baby at the breast and have no compassion on the child she has borne? Though she may forget, I will not forget you! See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands”. Is 49:15-16 We have seen the palms of those hands. They have been pierced out of love for each of us. The Lord Jesus never abandons us, in good times or difficult ones. Listen to His words; ” Come to me , all you who labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls”. Matt 11:28-29
The Lord has carried His people through so much before and will again. Let us learn the lesson of the past generations who celebrated St Patrick’s Day. In a world that has forgotten God so much, often thinking we can rely on our own strength, let us follow the tried and proven path that leads to Jesus who is our rock, our strength, our hope, both in the troubles of life’s journey and in eternity to come. As individuals, as families, as a nation,as a Christian family let us today pray in the words of St Patrick.