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MARCH 13 2016

Soliloquy Of St Patrick

 

[Musical Intro: The Song of St. Patrick by Marty Haugen]

 

[Patrick enters]

 

I am Patrick, a sinner, most unlearned, the least of all the faithful, and utterly despised by many. My father was Calpornius, a deacon. My grandfather was Potitus, an elder from the village of Bannavem Taburniae. That was the place where I was taken captive.

 

I was then about sixteen years of age. I did not know the true God. I was taken into captivity to Ireland with many thousands of people – and deservedly so, because we turned away from God, and did not keep His commandments, and did not obey our elders, who used to remind us of our salvation. And the Lord brought the wrath of His anger upon us and scattered us among many nations, even unto the utmost part of the earth, where now my littleness is seen among strangers.

 

You may smile that I call Ireland “the utmost part of the earth,” but to us, in the fifth century, we knew not that there was anything beyond it. It was to us the end of the world.

 

It was there that the Lord opened the sense of my unbelief that I might at last remember my sins and be converted with all my heart to the Lord my God;

 

  • who had regard for my poor condition,
  • and had mercy on my youth and ignorance;
  • who watched over me before I knew him, before I was able to distinguish between good and evil;
  • who guarded me;
  • who comforted me as would a father his son.

 

Hence, I cannot be silent – nor would it promote the good to do so – about the great benefits and the great grace which the Lord has deigned to bestow upon me in the land of my captivity; for this we can give to God in return after having been chastened by him, to exalt and praise his wonders before every people-group that is anywhere under heaven.

 

Because there is no other God, nor ever was, nor will be, than God the Father unbegotten, without beginning, from whom is all beginning, the lord of the universe, as we have been taught;

 

  • and his Son Jesus Christ,
  • whom we declare to have always been with the Father,
  • spiritually and inexpressibly begotten by the Father before the beginning of the world, before any kind of beginning of anything;
  • and by Him, that is Christ, are made all things, visible and invisible.
  • He was made man, and having defeated death, was received into heaven by the Father;
  • And he hath given him all power over all names in heaven, on earth, and under the earth,
  • And every tongue shall confess to him that Jesus Christ is Lord and God,
  • In whom we believe,
  • And whose coming we expect again,
  • Judge of the living and the dead, who will render to every man – both believer and unbeliever – according to his deeds;
  • And he has poured forth upon us abundantly the Holy Spirit,
  • The gift and pledge of immortality,
  • Who makes those who believe and obey sons of God
  • And joint heirs with Christ;
  • And him do we confess and adore,
  • ONE GOD IN THE TRINITY OF THE HOLY NAME.

 

For He Himself has said through the prophet, “Call upon Me in the day of trouble and I will deliver thee, and thou shalt glorify Me.” And, again, “It is honorable to reveal and confess the works of God.”

 

Although I am imperfect in many things, I still wish that you should know what sort of person I am so that you may understand my heart’s desire.

 

First, what is always before my mind is the Judgment that our Lord Jesus warns about which I, and all men, must undergo one day. And so, I dread exceedingly, with fear and trembling, the sentence of that day when no one will be able to escape or hide; but we all shall give an account of our lives, and our smallest, unrepentant sins, before the Judgment of the Lord Christ.

 

And so, I had it in my mind to write my story but hesitated until my elder years because I was afraid of exposing myself to the talk of men,

 

  • because I have not studied like the others,
  • who thoroughly took in God’s law and the Holy Scriptures,
  • and never had to change their language since childhood, but only make it more perfect.
  • What I write had to be translated,
  • and even what I wrote  revealed how little instruction I had in the art of words.

 

But I, and many of you, are ourselves a letter of Christ for salvation to the uttermost parts of the earth - __________________________ is one of those uttermost parts! You may not be an eloquent letter, yet the Spirit of the Living God has written in your hearts! And even rusticity…Do you know what I mean by rusticity? Being a country bumpkin. Being a yokel. Being a hillbilly. Being a hick. That’s me! … even rusticity was ordained by God. Maybe that is you, too. God has used me. He can use you too!

 

I was a rustic, exiled, unlearned, not knowing how to provide for my future. I was like a stone lying in the deep mud. He that is mighty came in his mercy and lifted me up, and raised me high, placed me on top of a mantle. THEREFORE, I ought to cry aloud and render something to the Lord for His great benefits here and in eternity – benefits beyond the mind of man!

 

Yes, he raised me up above

 

  • the wise of this world,
  • above the experts of the law,
  • above the powerful,
  • and used me to convey the love of Christ to a whole nation.

 

In the light of my faith in the Trinity I choose to make known the gift of God and eternal consolation, without fear despite many dangers, and SPREAD EVERYWHERE the name of God so that, after I die, I may leave a bequest to my brothers and sisters in Christ who I have baptized – many thousands of people! Yes, by God’s grace I myself have baptized thousands of people!

 

And, I leave a bequest to you too. I call it The Confession of Patrick. Somebody put the word “Saint” in front of my name. (Some people are crazy!) So, you may find it with that title.

 

When I came to Ireland as a slave I had to tend sheep every day on the mountain. Many times a day I prayed. The love of God and the fear of God both came to me more and more and my faith was strengthened.

 

And my spirit was moved so that in a single day I would say as many as a hundred prayers, and almost as many in the night. And this even when I was staying in the woods or on the mountains. And I used to get up for prayer before daylight, in snow, through frost, in rain – and I felt no harm to my body and there was no sloth in me as I now have because of my age, because the spirit within me was fervent.

 

And then one night I heard a voice in my sleep saying to me: “It is well that you fast. Soon you will return to your own country.” Then, a short while later I heard, “Look! Your ship is ready!” But I learned that the ship I was to take was not near. It was 200 miles away! I had never been there nor did I know a living soul there. But I escaped my master who I had served for six years. I was 22 years old when I left and I walked 200 miles southeast to the east coast of Ireland. I went in the strength of God who directed my way for good.

 

It was a dangerous journey for me. There are no wolves in Ireland now, but in my day there were many, and people were their prey as well as livestock. But God protected me and I had no fear. Indeed, I feared nothing until I came to that ship.

When I arrived the ship was soon to set sail and I told the crew that I was able to pay for my passage with them. But the Captain was not pleased with my offer and spoke harshly to me. He told me not to even bother asking. So, I left to return to the hut where I was staying. As I went I began to pray and before I had even finished my prayer one of the crew called out to me, “Come! Hurry! We will take you on in good faith.” None of them knew the Lord and I hoped that they would come to faith in Jesus Christ.

 

We set sail that same day. It took us three days to reach the mainland but the Captain had lost his way and we landed in Gaul, what you call France. Oh, I hear it is well populated now. But in the fifth century it was nothing but wilderness, except for Paris, of course.

 

We had to abandon the ship and we travelled for 28 days without seeing another human being. We had no food for a long time and the Captain said to me, “Tell me, Christian, you say that your God is great and all-powerful; why then do you not pray for us? As you can see, we are suffering from hunger. It is unlikely that we will ever see another human being.”

 

I said to them in full confidence, “be truly converted with all your heart to the Lord my God, because nothing is impossible for Him, that this day He may send you food on your way until you are satisfied; for He has abundance everywhere.”

 

So, many gave their lives to the Lord that hour and suddenly a herd of pigs appeared on the road before our very eyes. They killed many and we ate. We stayed there for two nights and recovered our strength. Their hounds were fed, too, for many had been left half dead by the side of the road.

 

From that day forward we had plenty of food.

 

Once we had come through that danger and we finally found some people I was taken prisoner once again. The very first night of my captivity the Lord spoke to me and said, “You will only be held for two months.” Exactly 60 nights after this I was released.

 

It took me a few years to find my way back to Britain and it was so wonderful to see my parents. They asked me never to leave them again.

 

Staying at home with my parents I received a vision in the night. A man came to me with countless letters in his hands and he gave me one. I opened it and read only the first words which were: “The voice of the Irish.” Then I heard voices saying in unison: “We ask thee, O youth, come and walk among us once more.” It was such a simple request, yet I found that my heart was broken and I could not read more.

 

 I knew the Lord was calling me back to Ireland but I had to prepare. So I studied at the feet of the teachers for many years. The church commissioned me to go and I went.

 

I faced many trials and dangers when I came to Ireland but God protected me by His mighty power.

 

Many of the kings and nobles of Ireland the Lord deigned to bring to faith through me, unworthy though I be. But there was one king, in fact the greatest and most powerful in all that nation, who opposed me and tried to kill me. That was Lóegaire, a great king, fierce and pagan, emperor of the barbarians.

 

First, he granted me audience and I spoke with him about the gospel of Christ. He rejected it and set his face against me. When I continued to preach to others he sought to murder me. Not once, but many times. Each time the Lord warned me about his schemes or I worked miracles to free myself from his evil plots.

 

During this time of peril I sensed the presence of Christ and I composed a poem. It has come to be known as The Breastplate for it speaks of Christ’s protection. I am fond of it. I remember it well.

 

[Singing of The Deer’s Cry here: Josie Rogers]

 

Yes, Christ is my all in all. Is he yours?

 

When I came to Ireland, those people never had a knowledge of God. They worshipped idols and things impure. But now they have been made a people of the Lord, sons and daughters of God. Even Lóegaire’s own two daughters, Eithne the fair and Fedelm the red, became virgins for Christ.

 

The Spirit used me, an unworthy vessel, to convert multitudes, to make the nation a Christian land. But it was God who was calling. The call came to each heart that responded.

 

God has not left Himself without witness.

 

  • The beauty of the sea tells of who He is and calls you to Him.
  • The majesty of the sky tells of who he is and calls you to Him.
  • He calls in you.
  • He calls in me.
  • He calls through fear of judgment.
  • He calls through fear of love.
  • Yet, when we answer the call we see that love is not to be feared, but to be enjoyed.
  • And he fills our heart with it.

 

My people have answered the call of God. Will you?

 

[End by playing The Call by Celtic Woman.]