Bible verses for St Patrick’s day isn’t something that comes to top of mind as I always thought that St Patrick’s was about celebrating being Irish, because seems that only the Irish or those who claim to have Irish ancestors celebrate it.
Well, after digging around a bit, I find that the original reason for this celebration was to commemorate St Patrick bringing the gospel to Ireland! Now, that a little bit different to the “let’s do everything green” celebration that we have nowadays.
At 16, Patrick was captured by Irish raiders and taken back to Ireland as a slave. He remained there for six years before he heard a voice say, “Behold, thy ship is ready”. He found that ship 200 miles away and fled Ireland, thinking he’d never return.
Like his father, Patrick got involved in his church, ultimately ordained as a priest. In 432 A.D., at the age of 48, Patrick responded to a vision, which led him to return to Ireland as a missionary. Though no outside religion had penetrated Ireland for a thousand years, Patrick experienced incredible success through unconventional methods. Reports vary, but it seems Patrick planted several hundred churches and baptised thousands, possibly tens of thousands. His influence continued after his death, with the end of the slave trade and a decrease in violent crimes.
To this day, Patrick is credited as evangelizing Ireland and according to Cahill, saving Western civilization.
A MODEL FOR TODAY
Today, Patrick is one of my faith heroes. His approach to those who didn’t share his beliefs has become a model for me. Learning about his life and ministry in the fifth century continues to inform mine in the 21st century.
In a world where we tend to demonize those who disagree with us and struggle to connect with those who live and believe differently, we find several attitudes in Patrick that can guide our lives in public and private as followers of Jesus.
Love God and love your enemies.
In his autobiography, Confessio, Patrick described how his faith grew during captivity as a young adult. “More and more the love and fear of God came to me, and faith grew and my spirit was exercised, until I was praying up to a hundred times every day and in the night nearly as often.” This wasn’t simply a private love for God; it produced a public love for his enemies. In his book, Celtic Way of Evangelism, Hunter wrote, “Patrick came to love his captors, to identify with them and to hope for their reconciliation to God. One day, he would feel they were his people.”
Patrick embodied Jesus’ command in Matthew 5 to “love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.” While it’s easy to gravitate to our tribes online and shout down those who disagree with us, Patrick shows us the impact we can make when we love those who are against us.
Follow your calling
At age 48 (which was past the life expectancy then), Patrick had a vision which he describes in his autobiography.
And I read the beginning of the letter containing ‘The voice of the Irish.’ And while I was reading aloud the beginning of the letters, I myself thought indeed in my mind that I heard the voice of those who were near the wood of Foclut, which is close by the Western Sea. And they cried out thus as if with one voice, ‘We entreat thee, holy youth, that thou come, and henceforth walk among us.’ And I was deeply moved in my heart, and could read no further; and so I woke.
Each of us has a calling. As Paul wrote in Ephesians 2, we are God’s masterpieces “created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.” God created us on purpose for a purpose. Once we discover our calling, we ought to be deeply moved in our hearts, as Patrick was, unable to do anything else but follow it.
Look for ways to draw out the best in others.
In his seminal book, How the Irish Saved Civilization, Thomas Cahill wrote, “Patrick found a way of swimming down to the depths of the Irish psyche and warming and transforming Irish imagination—making it more humane and more noble while keeping it Irish.”
In a world defined by outrage and driven by controversy, it is counter-cultural to look for ways to draw out the best in others. We rarely look for the best in those we dislike, much less work on drawing it out. But Patrick did this very thing. He returned to those who enslaved him, served them, loved them and sought to help them be the best versions of themselves.
Choose wisely when it comes to who you offend
Patrick’s ministry had its detractors. His superiors, both in Britain and Rome, questioned his methods. Unlike other Roman Catholic bishops and priests, Patrick and his team shed their formal robes for traditional Celtic attire.
We’ve all heard the phrase “When in Rome, do as the Romans do.” But in this day within the Church, it was more like “When anywhere, do as the Romans do.” At a time when a priest’s primary job was to serve those within the faith, Patrick made it his focus to spend time with, love and influence those who were outside the faith. Ultimately, Patrick was brought to trial for his unconventional methods and missionary approach.
Toady, it seems like we’re all too easily offended, especially within the Church. Everyone has an opinion on how we live, love and serve others. Whatever our calling in life or role within the Church, we can choose who we will offend and who we will focus on serving. I think Patrick’s model is worth emulating—offending those who’ve already found Jesus for the sake of those who’ve never known Him.
Integrate your faith into your whole life
Legend attributes a lengthy prayer to Patrick, now known as St. Patrick’s Breastplate. One section in particular expresses a Christ-centered, holistic view of life. This stanza integrates faith into every moment of the day, every interaction with people.
Christ be 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, Christ when I sit,
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.
However you choose to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day this year, I hope you’ll allow his life to inform yours in ways that go beyond green beer and funny hats.
Bible Verses for St Patrick’s Day
Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptising them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.
But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.
For so the Lord has commanded us: ‘I have set you as a light to the Gentiles,That you should be for salvation to the ends of the earth.’
And He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature.”
For whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved. How then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher?
And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come.
Declare His glory among the nations, His wonders among all peoples.
1 Chronicles 16:24
And he said to all, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it.
Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you had known me, you would have known my Father also. From now on you do know him and have seen him.”
Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits, who forgives all your iniquity, who heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit, who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy, who satisfies you with good so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
1 John 1:9
Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.
So, there you have 12 Bible verses for St Patrick’s Day!
Have a great day if you are celebrating it and if you aren’t, just show some grace for everything green!