Celebrating St Patrick

by Christine Sine

March 17th is St Patrick’s Day and while many here in the US think only of green beer with corned beef and cabbage some are aware that this is a day to remember one who helped to spread the gospel in a time of darkness and oppression.  It seems a very pertinent celebration for the season of Lent and as we grapple with our responses to those who are enslaved and abused in our society.

Brad Culver tells us:

In Patrick’s Letter to Coroticus he speaks out against Croticus a British slave trader whose soldiers were raiding along the Irish coast slaughtering men and taking women and children back to England to be sold as slaves.   The Letter is an especially important document because it shows St. Patrick as the first to speak out against slavery and in defense of women. As one who had been enslaved himself, Patrick proclaims his authority as a Bishop and speaks out against the kidnapping and murder perpetrated by his Roman countrymen. Read the article here

St Patrick prayers are particularly powerful tools to help us focus our faith and draw closer to God. Though St Patrick’s breastplate is the best know of these, there are others like the one above that are equally as powerful.

Going Green For St Patrick’s Day

If you really want to go green for St Patrick’s Day in honour of St Patrick who often used examples from creation to illustrate his points, consider these ideas:

  • Eat locally grown corned beef and cabbage or better yet consider a vegetarian option like potato leek soup and soda bread made from local grains. Scientific American reported in 2009 that producing half a pound of corn-fed hamburger releases as much greenhouse gas into the atmosphere as driving a 3,000 pound car nearly 10 miles.
  • Drink only local brews
  • Toss green bird seed instead of confetti at your St Patrick’s Day parade.
  • Plant something green in the garden or buy a green plant for the house.

Read Through Patrick’s Breastplate

Or you may like to read through Patrick’s Breastplate listen to this beautiful rendition of Patrick’s breastplate

Or listen to this wonderful retelling of the story of Patrick and the beautiful harp guitar music that goes with it.

And if you want to hear about St Patrick from a kid’s perspective watch this. It is delightful

And just because I could not resist adding my own stamp to St Patrick’s Day here is my rendition of the prayer in a responsive litany:

We bind unto ourselves today

the strong name of the trinity,

By invocation of the same,

the Three in One and One in three.

We bind this day to us forever, by power of faith, Christ’s Incarnation;

His baptism in the Jordan River; his death on cross for my salvation;

His bursting from the spiced tomb; His riding up the heavenly way;

his coming at the day of doom; We bind unto ourselves today.

We cast off the works of darkness today,

And put on the armour of light,

Light before us and behind,

Light within and light without,

Light to guide and to lead us,

Let us clothe ourselves with Christ.

Christ behind us, Christ before us,

Christ beside us, Christ to win us,

Christ to comfort and restore me,

Christ beneath us, Christ above us,

Christ in quiet, Christ in danger,

Christ in hearts of all that love us,

Christ in mouth of friend & stranger 

Let us wrap ourselves around with the belt of truth,

And strap on the breastplate of righteousness,

Let us clad our feet with the gospel of peace,

place the helmet of salvation on our heads.

And take up the shield of faith.

Let us clothe ourselves with Christ.

We bind unto ourselves today, the power of God to hold and lead,

God’s eye to watch, God’s might to stay, God’s ear to harken to our need,

The wisdom of our God to teach, God’s hand to guide, and shield to ward,

The Word of God to give us speech, God’s heavenly host to be our guard. 

In the love of God who shelters us,

In the light of Christ who walks beside us,

In the power of the Spirit who dwells within us,

We place ourselves today.

Let us clothe ourselves with Christ.

We bind unto ourselves today the strong name of the Trinity,

By invocation of the same, the Three in One, the One in Three.

Of whom all nature hath creation, Eternal God, Spirit, Word;

Praise to the God of our salvation, Salvation is of Christ the Lord.

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Donna Grant March 16, 2019 - 7:55 pm

What a wonderful, reflective way to look at St. Patrick’s Day.
Thank you. I loved the music; haunting and yet uplifting. What is that instrument? Is it actually called a harp guitar? Very interesting.

Christine Sine March 16, 2019 - 8:32 pm

Donna I think that the instrument is called a harp guitar. I must confess it is not one I am familiar with.

Maurice Dee March 16, 2021 - 12:10 pm

Many thanks for a moving depiction of St Patrick’s background.

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