March is upon us!
The month of March seems to be when everyone turns Irish. Here in Champaign Urbana it comes early with University students celebrating unofficial St. Patrick's Day one week from now. For me March is a time to remember just how much of a Geek that I am. While everyone else turns Irish by throwing on a green shirt and drinking darker beer, I'm pulling out my documentary on the real St. Patrick and re-reading his Confession.
The truth is that Patrick has become one of my favorite historical characters. Many people do not realize that he was the first missionary to venture beyond the borders of the Roman Empire without a Roman army preceding him. He most likely never chased any snakes from the island, but did introduce the Gospel in a way that would change the people of Ireland and the rest of Christianity forever.
One thing I find myself doing repeatedly at this time is reading the hymn that has come to be known as St. Patrick's Breastplate. I will admit that there is some doubt as to whether or not Patrick himself actually wrote the hymn, but by comparing it to his Confession I think that if Patrick did not write it, he would have surely loved it.
Something that struck me as I read the hymn this week is how overtly Trinitarian it is.
I arise today
in a mighty strength,
calling upon the Trinity
believing in the Three Persons
saying they are One
thanking my Creator.
So often I fall into the habit of thinking that I only deal with one part of the Trinity at a time. When I pray I am speaking to the Father. When a Pastor reminds me of how I am forgiven I hear the words of the Son. When I am comforted in difficult times I feel the warmth of the Holy Spirit. This isn't inherently wrong. Scripture makes it apparent that the members of the Trinity take on specific roles. However the more I learn of God, the more apparent it becomes that I am never really interacting with just one member.
In my reading of Luke this week I saw a beautiful picture of the Trinity.
We do not worship some solitary being, but an entity whose very existence is defined by a loving relationship. The same God that awed Patrick still saves us, sustains us, and makes us into His children.
I encourage anyone who reads this to take time to read old hymns and prayers. Feel free to start with the Lorica of St. Patrick, also known as his Breastplate and the Deer's Cry.