Happy Saint Patrick’s Day! This is a day that always releases a whole slew of fond memories of my past. My first recollection always concerns the phone call that I would habitually receive from my Mom a week or two previous to my birthday on the 14th of March. She would proceed to invite our family over for my birthday dinner and ask, “What would you prefer, steak or corned beef and cabbage?” And since an occasional somewhat tough chuck steak was about all we could afford on our family budget with a family of four kids, I would answer without hesitation: “STEAK!”
Then without fail, as soon as we walked up the steps to their home we would smell corned beef and cabbage emanating from the kitchen window next to the front door. My Mom would greet us with a big smile and say, “you know, we haven’t had corned beef and cabbage for such a long time that we decided to have it for your dinner tonight!” At that point I would nod with a forced smile that most likely showed my disappointment and turn to Piper who would instantly make it better with a quick wink and smile that said “its okay!”
Then there were the Corned Beef and Cabbage Kiwanis Club dinners that I worked with my closest buddies as a member of our high school Key Club. They were very tiring but loads of fun as we served the patrons, cleared tables, washed dishes, tossed food around in the kitchen and ate until we burst!
In later years Piper, the kids and I attended various Italian Federation St. Patrick’s Day dinners as guests of my folks who were active members of the church club. They were also a lot of fun. Anytime you mix a bunch of older traditional Italians together over a meal you can’t help but have a blast! Somehow they always managed to integrate huge bowls of pasta with marinara sauce complete with hand-picked wild Italian mushrooms into the dinner menu. Once the meal was served the volume in the room would increase as everyone would talk at once arguing about how their sauce recipe was the best! My folks were well known amongst the members and as such we were treated like everybody’s extended family!
The holiday also reminds me of my maternal Grandfather’s brother who had a booming tenor voice. They lived down south in the Los Angeles area and we didn’t get to see them that much, but when we did, Uncle Mike would always take over the night’s activities and serenade us all with Irish songs. He had me convinced for years that he actually was of Irish decent… while everyone else in the family was 100% Italian!
St Patrick’s Day is actually a pretty cool holiday that from what I have seen, the protestant church tends to ignore. Tradition holds that the Roman-British born Patrick was kidnapped at the age of sixteen by Irish raiders and was taken as a slave to the Gaelic Island. While there, working as a shepherd, Patrick allegedly wrote in his confession entitled “Declaration” that at that time he “found God.”
He went on to document how the Lord told him “to flee to the coast where a ship would be waiting to take him home.” After his return to Britain he entered the priesthood and followed a call as an evangelist and “returned to Ireland to convert the pagan Irish to Christianity. The Declaration says that he spent many years evangelizing in the northern half of Ireland and converted ‘thousands’. Tradition holds that he died on 17 March and is buried at Downpatrick (located about 21 miles south of Belfast in County Down in Northern Ireland.” (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saint_Patrick's_Day)
Here’s the traditional story of a man that did not allow the pain of his past to dictate his life. Instead he followed the love of Papa God through the recreation of his spirit and returned to Ireland with a message of love, forgiveness and an expectation of a better life to those who had threatened to destroy his future!
Sounds like a pretty good message for all of us to follow! What plans and purposes has Papa God put on your heart? Maybe today’s celebration of St Patrick’s Day could be a time to renew your passion for the call that Christ has put on your life. You know… It is never too late to let go and let God lead you to the place He wants you to occupy in this life.
I would think that most of our callings don’t come with the treat of a price on our heads like Patrick most likely had upon his return to the land in which he was held captive in. Have a great day today and celebrate your own move into the call of God, as we celebrate the work that has us honoring St Patrick on this day… and keep asking yourself… “What CALL am I expecting to given in to and do something about today?”