Leprechauns? Shamrocks? Pot of gold?
Drunken revelry? Celebrations out of control?
Green bagels? Green beer? Green painted people?
After working in NYC for years, I've seen it all. I find it most curious the way that people "honor" St. Patrick on March 17th. I once witnessed a near-fatal showdown between mounted police and carousing, green-faced partygoers who spilled out of a bar and blocked 33rd St. and nearly became a casualty myself!
Have you ever read the prayer of St. Patrick? After reading the words and sensing the heart of this godly man, it grieves me to see the misunderstanding that the celebration of his life has become.
I wanted to find just the right thing to say today, and I found it in my pastor's weekly newsletter. So- many thanks to Pastor Steven Creange, for this post and for serving the Lord so effectively day in and day out, year after year.
One of my favorite Christian singer/song writers is Fernando Ortega. It is not so much the music (which I enjoy) or the lyrics (which are very good) but it is the spirit that I sense comes through him; through his voice, through his instruments, through his passion. When I play his CD's or listen to him on my IPOD I sense the presence of Jesus. This is not true of every Christian artist or every Christian song that I hear. But for me, there is something very beautiful and calming and I am taken to a place that agrees with my spirit... ("The Spirit Himself testifies with our spirit.." Romans 8:16). He may not be the greatest singer or the greatest song writer or the greatest musician. Fernando Ortega may not even have any effect on you at all; but when I hear him sing I sense the presence of Jesus.
Many years ago I attended the District Assembly at the Maranatha Church of The Nazarene in Paramus. The presiding General Superintendent was Dr. Charles H. Strickland. When I approached him to shake his hand I immediately sensed I was in the presence of Jesus. As I shook his hand the power of Christ seemed to surge through him. He was a short, stocky man who wore glasses. By the measure of any standard he was common; unimpressive to the human eye. But he didn't have to say a word; I knew I was standing on holy ground. Christ was in him and flowing through him and I felt so small yet so in awe.
My desire is that I would have Christ flow through me in such a way that it is His Spirit that people sense. I know that too much of "me" gets in the way and I have to allow the Holy Spirit to have free reign. John the Baptist said "He must increase while I must decrease." The Apostle Paul wrote in Galatians 2:20: "I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ live in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, l who loved me and gave Himself for me." Saint Patrick's beautiful prayer says:
I arise today through God's strength to pilot me,
God's might to uphold me,
God's wisdom to guide me,
God's eye to look before me,
God's ear to hear for me,
God's word to speak for me,
God's hand to guard me,
God's way to lie before me,
God's way to lie before me,
God's shield to protect me,
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 lfeft,
Christ when I lie down,
Christ when I sit down,
Christ when I arise.
Christ in the heart of everyone 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.
Wouldn't it be wonderful to have people know that we have "been with Jesus" (Acts 4:13) without us even saying a word. I think praying the Prayer of Saint Patrick is a prayer to be prayed every day not just on March 17th. I think we would actually witness the power and presence of Jesus through us touching the lives of others. What do you think?
May your day today be filled with His presence. And may His presence flow through you to those around you today and everyday.