Today's Lectionary Text
Psalm 63:1O God, you are my God, I seek you,
my soul thirsts for you;
my flesh faints for you,
as in a dry and weary land where there is no water.
It was September 1987. I was in Fort Worth, Texas, in a seminar to be led by Don Griggs, one of my favorite Christian educators. I was exhausted. I had driven from Great Bend, Kansas, leaving a just-weaned 10-month-old and her 3-year-old sister at home. The seminar opened. The first activity was Psalm 63 or experiencing it in order to learn it and how to teach it. This was definitely what I needed! Mr. Griggs got me into the Psalm. I realized it was where I was already. My soul was thirsting deeply for God.
Griggs led us to a place, using the Psalm, that God could speak to and fill each of us as we needed. Wow!
Today is a day we might be having lots of fun. Revelry, parading, and searching for pots of gold are ways to quench inner thirsts. However, Saint Patrick, patron saint of Ireland, provides another route to soul-filling. Born into a well-off family in Britain, probably in the fifth century, he was kidnapped and sold into slavery in Ireland at age 16. Upon his escape, six years later, he returned to Britain, and went back and forth between Britain and Ireland for a time. Finally, he remained in Ireland. Described as a humble man who delighted in praising God, Patrick is credited with bringing Christianity to Ireland.
On this Saint Patrick’s Day in the midst of fun parades and listening to Irish music let’s think also of Irish prayers. The prayer on Saint Patrick’s breastplate speaks of fulfillment of that deep desire for God. You might be familiar with it. In part it says,
May Christ guard me today . . . So my mission may bear
Fruit in abundance.
Christ behind and before me, Christ beneath and above me, Christ with me and in me,
Note that the purpose is to empower one’s mission so that it is fruitful. When our thirst for God is satisfied, we are put in better positions to fulfill the ministries to which we have been called. With God in me, around me, above me, as I rise and as I sleep, I can hear the cries of the hungry and respond by working a shift at the Lord’s Diner. My eyes might be opened to those who have little clothing and will be blessed by the cast-off jeans that I send to the Klothes Kloset.
Thousands of Ukrainians are streaming from bombarded homes just now. God’s life-giving presence to my right and to my left, will lead my response in Christ’s name to their plight. With my own thirst being slaked by God I will be able to send a donation for refugee relief that will convey God’s love to homeless Afghanis. Thus, as Christ fills and overwhelms you and me this day, I wish you a great time. May part of the fun be discovering just where God has a mission for you. Happy Saint Patrick’s Day!
Prayer for Reflection
Thank you, O God for persons like Patrick, who model for us how to live as disciples of Jesus Christ. Help us to pay attention. Amen.
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