“But I entreat those who believe in and fear God, whoever deigns to examine or receive this document composed by the obviously unlearned sinner Patrick in Ireland, that nobody shall ever ascribe to my ignorance any trivial thing that I achieved or may have expounded that was pleasing to God, but accept and truly believe that it would have been the gift of God. And this is my confession before I die.” Patrick of Ireland
As part of my own Lenten study and worship I am reading again the confession of Patrick of Ireland. It’s a personal thing. I just like Patrick a lot.
There are some very special things to relate from his story, but I’m regularly taken by his humility. Like the quote above, he takes nothing of credit for himself and lays every gift he receives before God. He went to the people who enslaved him and gave them his life because of the calling of Jesus, he says. He just came back as a servant to them but a slave of Jesus. And what also is remarkable is that he returned there looking for God.
“I ought not to conceal God’s gift which he lavished on us in the land of my captivity, for then I sought him resolutely, and I found him there, and he preserved me from all evils (as I believe) through the in-dwelling of his Spirit which works in me to this day.”
He didn’t show up to bring the people religion. He didn’t show up to make them Roman citizens or educated or cultured. He showed up because they were human beings God loved. And, starting with what they already perceived of God, he sought to expand their trust in the God who loved them
“As well as to the heathen among whom I live, I have shown them trust and always show them trust.”
He lived in trust of God and as both trusting and trustworthy toward the people around him so that they could see the kind of life God creates through his people as they follow him.
Life just comes alive when you live like this, doesn’t it. You make much of God and not so much of yourself. You expect God will be ahead of you and you’ll find him. You live that trust out and live in a manner that tells people around you that you look at them as having worth. Sometimes you can get hurt living this way. Patrick knew that too. But he says it is still the only way to live and to be alive.