Today, many people, especially those of Irish descent, are celebrating Saint Patrick’s Day. Many are proudly wearing their green. Shamrock and leprechaun decorations adorn both homes and offices. Green bagels and green beer will be consumed by millions along with the traditional dinner of corned beef, boiled potatoes, and steamed cabbage. This is one of those “fun” cultural holidays that people celebrate without really putting much thought into it.
Who was Saint Patrick? History tells us he lived in the 5th century and was a missionary to Ireland and later anointed as the country’s “patron saint.” Did Patrick preach the Gospel of salvation by God’s grace through faith in Jesus Christ that was preached by the New Testament church? That’s a tough question but hopefully that was the case. Error and anti-Biblical practices had already crept into the church by Patrick’s time but the situation was still a long way from the institutionalized Roman Catholicism we know today. Most Catholics would be very surprised to learn from history that many of their church’s doctrines evolved over time.
For many Catholics, celebrations like Saint Patrick’s Day represent the extent of their spirituality. It’s all about customs, rituals, and traditions without much thought about the God of the Bible and how He fits in. I don’t mean to come down hard on the revelers for having some fun but Saint Patrick’s Day is about as deep as it gets for many. People will go to great lengths and put an enormous amount of effort into making sure their Saint Patrick’s Day celebration is a success, but suggest they should pick up a Bible and find out about the Lord of all days and you’ll likely be met with a big guffaw!
“See to it that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deception, according to the tradition of men, according to the elementary principles of the world, rather than according to Christ.” – Colossians 2:8