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13.03.2020

A Tale of Two Saints

St. Patrick, the famous Guinness-guzzling, snake-abating Irishman will be toasted around the world this coming Tuesday.

Be honest, how many inaccuracies did you clock in that sentence? Four points are available. He never drank Guinness (that’s the easy one), he wasn’t Irish, there were no snakes in Ireland when he arrived, and he wasn’t even called Patrick (his real name was Maewyn Succat).

As a young man, ‘Patrick’ was captured by pirates and enslaved in Ireland, where he was forced to tend sheep. Six harsh years on a bleak hillside later, he escaped. But after he’d been home a while, he sensed God calling him back to the land of his captivity to share the gospel. And so, this young man who had faced much hardship, often plagued by depression and self-doubt, crossed the Irish Sea to share the message of Christ’s love and forgiveness.

Now fast forward 1500 years. Allow me to introduce you to St. Patricia.*

Unlike Patrick, Patricia is Irish. But, like Patrick, she is acquainted with brokenness. She grew up in a dysfunctional family. After ‘escaping’ to England to study, she faced a mental health battle which meant she was unable to finish her degree. She returned home, crestfallen. After some time, she was offered a job in England, which she felt was from God. Like Patrick after his call, she crossed the Irish Sea, only in the opposite direction.

During her time in the land of St George, one of Patricia’s frontlines was tutoring Daisy, a GCSE student. Daisy was bright and funny, with a perceptible inner strength. At the end of each session, Patricia and Daisy would chat, and over time Daisy opened up to Patricia. Daisy’s mum had recently become a Christian, and Daisy was furious about this; she felt like she was losing her mum. Daisy had all kinds of objections to Christianity, and wasn’t shy in expressing them.

Patricia didn’t have all the answers, but she felt that the Holy Spirit helped her respond with grace. Each week at the end of their sessions, the conversation would continue. The rage subsided, the hardness thawed, and eventually (with her mum’s permission), Daisy got plugged-in to the youth work at Patricia’s church, and loved it.

The good news of St. Patrick’s Day is that God works through the lives and words of broken people, even people like us. Through us, whatever our frontlines, the gospel continues to spread.

*Not her real name

 

Joe Warton
Church Team – Research & Development, LICC

(Photo Credit: Nheyob)

Comments

  1. Many thanks for yr excellent materials! Best wishes and many blessings to u all at LICC

    By Patti - 13th March 2020
  2. Found today’s ‘Connecting with Culture’ really helpful and encouraging. Thank you!

    By Dave Ward - 13th March 2020
  3. Lovely piece, beautifully told. Heartfelt stories about real life hold and share the truth better than any theoretical textbook. That’s why the Bible is so rich – real stories about real people. And Jesus’ parables add a further dimension to stories about people, causing the listener/reader to reflect and ponder their meaning and practical application.

    By David Henderson - 13th March 2020
  4. I love receiving your materials. They inspire and encourage – they help me and others ( I often forward your emails to other friends) to think outside the box. They keep me grounded and they help me to fly in equal measure. I never thought mission was my forte but now I know that mission should be simply a way of life for everyone, but exemplified in many different interconnected ways. I just wish I lived near / in London so that I could attend some of your events!

    By Pam Martin - 14th March 2020

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