Have You Seen a Leprechaun Today?
St. Patrick's Day is here so keep your eyes open for leprechauns. They are tricky to see because they move quickly but I am sure they are around on this day! Make sure you are wearing green today so they won't sneak up on you and pinch you!
Why would a Presbyterian pastor be writing about leprechaun's and St. Patrick's Day? The Presbyterian heritage has its roots in Scotland and, in my research over the years, I learned that St. Patrick had an amazing ministry. Like Jesus, he used ordinary items in people's lives to teach about God.
Finding facts about Patrick is tricky because of all the stories that arose about him. From what I can find, Patrick was born in Roman Britain in the late 4th century. At the age of 16, he was kidnapped and taken to Ireland as a slave - escaping at some point, only to return around 432. He spent his time as an apostle to Ireland converting the Irish to Christianity. By the time of his death on March 17, 461, he had established monasteries, churches, and schools.
The shamrock, with three sections, was used by St. Patrick to teach about the Trinity: God, Son, and Holy Spirit - all different but all part of one. It isn't a perfect symbol but it helps us to understand, as much as humanly possible, the concept of God as three-in-one.
The Trinity is important for us to dwell on today, for the Trinity reminds us of the characteristics of God. As the Father (or Parent), God protects us, watches over us, and provides for us. Therefore, we do not need to FEAR or PANIC or HOARD for God will make sure we have what we need - not necessarily what we want. So we can calm down about being asked to be socially distant because God is watching over us.
As Jesus the Son, we know that our human experience is one that God understands. Think about Jesus:
-he loved being with children, so he must have been a fun person to be around. Who can be around kids without smiling?
-he understood that people make decisions that are not wise, but he never condemned them. Instead, he said, "Go and change your ways!"
-he brought wisdom and peace, rather than panic and chaos, to people. Five thousand people needed to be fed and the disciples were panicked about where to find enough food. Jesus simply said, "Collect what you have," blessed it and fed them all - with leftovers!
As the Holy Spirit who is always with us, God can calm us down and help us to see things through God's eyes, rather than human eyes. Whenever I think of the Spirit, I think of the fruits of the Spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, and self-control. Let's turn to the Spirit, asking for these fruits to be displayed in our lives while those around us are panicking.
St. Patrick's Day, shamrocks, leprechauns - smile today for just a minute and remember that God is with us, no matter what we are experiencing today! God bless! Ellen
PS: I will be blogging daily with upbeat messages to help us get through this time. Spread the news!