I would say everyone reading this will have heard of St. Patrick, but here I’m just going to refer to him as Patrick. He was simply a man who God called and used in an extraordinary way, but still ordinary like all of the rest of us. What is extraordinary is God’s story in which He placed Patrick in. I’m also not going to wait until March 17th to write about this, because I think that the story of Patrick very much applies to us now and in the days to come.
Patrick came back to the land where he was enslaved to after God called him there to be a missionary to the people. Ireland was a dark place ruled by pagan kings and enveloped in a dark, demonic pagan culture. This is easy to read about, but unless you have been the only person carrying the light of Christ in a dark place, word are hard to describe what that must’ve been like for him, let alone any believer. One of the pagan high kings had made a law where that during one time of the year, during a particular pagan season, that no fires could be lit until he lit the main fire to the druid gods and then from that all other fires were to be lit. No fire nor flame could be lit on in the home nor outside until the king’s fire was ignited.
Patrick, in defiance of the high king, climbed to the highest hill in that area and lit the first fire. His resolve was to not only glorify who the one true God, but to also not cower down, even if it meant death, to obeying laws that were in direct rebellion agains the one true God. There are several different versions of the story, but they are all in common that Patrick visibly and loudly made his allegiance to the one true God that night.
So why am I sharing this in January and not in March. Because as we enter 2021 and beyond, it is clear that dark times seem to be closing in. At least spiritually. When you have a United Methodist Pastor/U.S. legislator pray in the name of pagan gods…or another possible one being elected vocally pro-abortion, these should be apparent to us that we are spiritually in a dark and lost place. This isn’t to be doom and gloom. We have a mighty God and we know where our hope comes from. So the question is, are we ready and willing to walk in defiance of whatever exalts itself above the knowledge of God and shine brightly for Him? Are we willing to initiate a fire of revival regardless of the cost to us?
This may seem intimidating but this is not impossible with God. Now is the time, to draw close to Him in relationship. Let Him be who you fix your eyes on. Let Him be who you trust all your cares with. Get close enough for Him to ignite that fire in your own heart so that you can shine brightly. May we be a church that is bold and blazing to make our allegiance to God and declare Him before a dark world.
A few centuries later, an Irish monk wrote a poem/prayer inspired by this story and Patrick’s life. A few more centuries later, it was translated into English and then a century ago put to a hymn. Many of you would know it as Be Thou My Vision. I’ve included the lyrics below. I encourage you to read them and make it your prayer going into 2021.
Be thou my vision, O Lord of my heart;
Naught be all else to me, save that thou art –
Thou my best thought, by day or by night;
Waking or sleeping, thy presence my light.
Be thou my wisdom, and thou my true word;
I ever with thee and thou with me, Lord.
Thou my great Father; thine own may I be,
Thou in me dwelling and I one with thee.
Riches I heed not, nor vain, empty praise;
Thou mine inheritance, now and always;
Thou and thou only first in my heart,
High King of heaven, my treasure thou art.
High King of heaven, my victory won,
May I reach heaven’s joys, O bright heaven’s sun!
Heart of my own heart, whatever befall,
Still be my vision, O Ruler of all.