When we see or think of St. Patty’s Day, we think green. We wear green. We eat green things. Perhaps that’s due, in large part, to the fact that Green was the color of the Flag for Irish Catholics. But did you know that Orange was the color of the Protestant flag? It’s true. I learned that little tid bit from my grandfather. “We were orange,” he used to say. “And we came from County Cork.”
My grandfather would remind me about that history, without fail, each and every St. Patrick’s Day. He wasn’t trying to make a point, he was just proud that he knew something about our heritage and he was pleased to pass that knowledge along to me.
But the tidbit of info in regards to the original St. Pat is what I love to remember each year as well. Did you know that he was not a Leprechaun who danced in clover but rather was an actual son of wealthy British parents that lived in the 4th century? Here’s the scoop.
At the age of 16, Patrick was taken prisoner by Irish raiders who attacked his family’s estate. The bandits took the lad to the Island of Ireland where he spent his captivity working as a shepherd, outdoors and away from people. It was during this frightening time of isolation that he discovered Christ and developed a strong faith. Legend has it that he began to have dreams of winning the Irish to Christianity. Now, that’s what I call a heart for ministry!
After more than six years as a prisoner, Patrick made a run for it – and escaped. Believe it or not, there are actual writings of his that survived and exist to this day. He wrote of a voice, which he believed to be God’s. It spoke to him in a dream, telling him it was time to leave Ireland. And, boy did he.
Patrick walked nearly 200 miles from County Mayo to the Irish coast. After escaping to Britain, he recorded a second vision. This time, it was an angel in a dream, that told him to return to Ireland as a missionary! And you know what? He did just that. But much later.
Patrick first threw himself into studying his new faith. 15 years later, he became an ordained priest and was commissioned to Ireland. His mission? To minister to Christians already living in Ireland and to begin to convert the Irish.
And there you have it. When you hit that board meeting, coffee chat or water cooler today, hopfully you’ll have something new on which to dish. Perhaps your listeners will be “green” with envy. Who knows. 🙂
Here’s to St. Pat and his green. And here’s to those of us that are Orange!
Just my thoughts,