Lessons from St. Patrick’s Day

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It is amazing how many people were out and about today because it was St. Patrick’s Day. One of the staff pastors told me that he even saw a long line outside a bar in downtown Ann Arbor at 6:15AM as he was driving to morning prayer.

Then when we went out to campus for lunch there were a lot of people dressed up in green and gathering at – yup, you guess it – a bar. They were outside drinking, laughing and talking.

Therefore, I suggested an experiment. I proposed that we ask some people who are feeling very “St. Paddy-ish” if they knew the reason for the so-called holiday or if they knew who St. Patrick was.

It was interesting because people did not know who St. Patrick was and why they were celebrating in his name.

Then I was thinking how so many celebrations have turned out this way. Just think about Ash Wednesday with Mardi Gras, Easter, Christmas, and the list goes on.

What happened?

Several things come to my mind:

1) Always know the original intent.
2) When we fail to pass on the reasons behind why we do what we do, then the meaning will be lost.
3) It is easy to take something and deconstruct it to make it fit into our culture or our selfish desires.
4) Don’t just do something because everyone is doing it – seriously think about it first!

All these things can be applied within the context of the church.

* How many times have we lost God’s original purpose for something?
* How many times have we done something without knowing why we do what we do?
* How many times have we twisted God’s purpose to fit into our purpose?
* How many times have we thoughtfully and prayerfully did something instead of just following the crowd?

Well, I think it might be helpful (and even be shocking) if all the St. Paddy revelers read up on who Saint Patrick was and what he did that brought him so much fame.

Here is a biography of St. Patrick.

Spiritual ENTREPRENEUR, Church EQUIPPER, Leadership EDUCATOR, Ideas EXPERIMENTER & Global EXPLORER who is trying to transform lives and transform the world.
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