Archive for March, 2012

Thoughts on the Martin/Zimmerman Tragedy

March 31st, 2012 17 comments

I’m a gun collector and shooter, an advocate of Second Amendment rights, a Endowment Member of the National Rifle Association and a life member of Gun Owners of America. Therefore, most people assume I probably come down on the side of George Zimmerman, the neighborhood watch guy who killed a 17 year old teenager, claiming self-defense. Actually, I do not. But I will say this, the rush to judgment by those looking to play the race card and make political hay of this situation, on either side of the “aisle” is deeply disgusting to me.

We do not know precisely what happened that night, but we do know that Zimmerman was a man who felt a responsibility to protect his gated community in light of burglaries and crime. A commendable position to take. No argument there. And he saw an unknown person walking around at night. And here is where it gets dice, because he was armed. When you armed your level of accountability and responsibility sky rockets. Zimmerman totally failed in this regard, and this is the reason why Martin is dead.

Zimmerman violated the key and most critical common sense rule armed citizens are taught: the use of a firearm in self-defense is only the truly last resort. Now, you may say, “But Zimmerman was being physically attacked by Martin, he had no choice.” Perhaps not, at that point, but…his, literally, fatal error was choosing to ignore the police department’s instruction to NOT pursue, to NOT follow, to let the police handle it. Zimmerman’s own duty was to observe and report, not follow, track down and stalk a person whom he had concerns about.

This was no emergency.

Nobody’s life was in danger. Martin was not physically attacking somebody. He was not committing a crime. His only “crime” was walking around at night in a hoodie, to get a bottle of tea and skittles during a baseketball game half-time break.

Zimmerman made the foolish and ultimately deadly decision to disregard police instructions and as a result, Martin is dead. Zimmerman had no reason to pursue and follow Martin, precipitating the events that led to Martin’s killing. Period. End of story.

The rest? I honestly at this point don’t think anyone should be trying to jump to conclusions beyond these facts. But, none of this would have happened had Zimmerman followed the police department’s instructions and simply leave well enough alone. He had no legitimate reason or just cause to do more than report and observe.

Categories: Uncategorized

A Boy and His Cello

March 30th, 2012 1 comment

Categories: Humor

What Do You Do With Your “Good Fridays”?

March 30th, 2012 1 comment

A wonderful Holy Week meditation from Pastor Matthew Harrison, President of The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod:

Categories: Uncategorized

New Website Provides Hub for Confessional Lutheran Research and Writing

March 30th, 2012 Comments off

New Website a Hub for Confessional Lutheran Research and Writing

Concordia Publishing House Offers a Hand in Partnership to the Professional and Academic Community March 16, 2012Print Pitch Saint Louis, MO—As the 500th anniversary of Reformation approaches, Concordia Publishing House (CPH) unveils, a new multi-use website to serve Christian scholars. In addition to offering textbooks and research published by CPH, the site also lists publications by theology professors of the Concordia University System and seminaries. Christian scholars will also find information on Lutheran translation projects, news related to confessional Lutheran research and publishing, examination copies, and how to submit manuscripts to Concordia Publishing House for publication.

“Concordia’s new academic site was designed to aid Christian scholars in service to the Church and academy,” said Dr. Benjamin T. G. Mayes, editor for Luther’s Works and Gerhard’s Commonplaces. “Our hope is that professors, pastors, students, and ‘armchair theologians’ will be well served by it. Concordia Publishing House is a key partner for confessional Lutheran universities and seminaries. We are excited that they use our resources and delighted that they choose CPH to publish their textbooks and research.”

Concordia Publishing House offers textbooks for biblical languages, Reformation and Luther studies, church history, and much more. In addition, CPH is expanding the availability of Luther in the English language through the continuation of the American edition of Luther’s Works. The website offers information on this series as well as two other monumental projects: the Concordia Commentary series (biblical commentary) and the translation of Johann Gerhard’s Theological Commonplaces (classic Lutheran systematic theology). Visit to find out about special discounts available to subscribers of these series.

At scholars and professors will find current information on new releases, the process for requesting examination copies, and guidelines for submitting their research for consideration for publication.

Categories: CPH Resources

Martin Luther on Palm Sunday

March 30th, 2012 4 comments

From Martin Luther’s House Postil, from a sermon on John 12:12-19

“We should get really well acquainted with this Christ-King, and place all our  hope boldly in the life which is to come, where  we will be forever happy, free of all sin and infirmity. It’s for that reason that Christ came, and was crucified, died, rose from the dead, and ascended into heaven to occupy his kingdom. That’s how he overcame sin,death, and the devil for us, and by his blood and Holy Spirit swept us clean of all filth, so that all who believe in him are righteous and blessed, and will someday pass through temporal death into his eternal, heavenly kingdom.

“That’s why all of us should truly welcome this Christ-King, recognizing him as our righteous helper, and by the power of the Word, Sacraments, and faith, enjoy him now and forever! A Christian, you see, has not beep baptized, so that he may collect treasure and get rich here on earth – all of which he can do as well without the gospel and baptism; instead he was baptized so that through Christ he may attain eternal life. To reach that life is why we should faithfully use the gospel and our baptism. I am a baptized Christian so that I may inherit and attain Christ’s kingdom. And if I’m also blessed with possessions, I use these for my physical needs – certainly not to lift myself up into heaven!

“We should, therefore, mark all the difference between Christ’s kingdom and worldly powers, as he  himself clearly showed by his extraordinary entry into Jerusalem, riding on a donkey, without a saddle, the animal a borrowed one at that! He sat 0n it without pretense, just as he was, barefoot, without boots and spurs. From the human point of view the whole incident looked ridiculous, and yet this beggar-King, riding on a donkey, was Israel’s King, promised by God and foretold by the prophets. That was evident also from the way his followers greeted him, “Hosanna!” Blessings on this King and upon his new kingdom! “Blessed is he who cometh in the name of the Lord, even the King of Israel!” All of which made it crystal clear that he was in no way like worldly rulers who have amassed a lot of treasure and property for the purpose of displaying worldly pomp and circumstance for their public appearances. Christ was no such earthly king; on the contrary, he is an eternal King, with an everlasting kingdom where one needs neither gold or silver, and yet will never suffer any want or need in all eternity.

“The world has nothing but high disdain for this King and his kingdom with its eternal blessings; it is concerned only with temporal goods: power, honor, and riches on earth. We Christians, however, are to labor here and use the world’s goods for our bodily needs, all the while not forgetting the other life. After all, we must in the end depart and leave behind the goods of this earthly life; that should help us remember where we really want to be, namely with Christ, our eternal King. For if we accept him here, that is, believe in him and heed his gospel, he will also receive us over there, saying to us, “Come, O blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.”

“This, then, is what our dear Lord Jesus Christ meant to show by his entrance into Jerusalem, so that we might truly understand him and his kingdom. On the left hand, as it were, we still live here in the kingdom of this world, but always on the right hand we reach forward and upward to his kingdom everlasting in the world to come. It was for that future life that we were baptized. May God grant us his grace so that we may joyously welcome and accept this King and remain with him forever. Amen!”

- House Postil

Thanks to Pastor Juhl, at Historic Lectionary for the quote.

How to Meditate on the Passion of Christ: Radio Interview

March 30th, 2012 1 comment

Here’s a radio show I did with my friends at Issues, Etc. for their Good Friday show a while back.

Is One “Just Right” For You? How the Different Lutheran Study Bible Sizes Compare

March 29th, 2012 5 comments

A person asked me to send him a pic or two of how the sizes of the various Lutheran Study Bibles compare, so…here you go. I can’t help but think of the story of the three bears….perhaps one is “just right” for you? To order copies, and see all the various options we offer, just head on over here. What I have in the photos are, stacked bottom to top, the larger print edition, the regular print edition and the compact edition, then from left to right in the next photo: compact, regular and larger print. For the largest size of each picture, click on them a couple times and you can expand them on your monitor.









Categories: CPH Resources

Basic Black – New Format for Compact Edition of The Lutheran Study Bible

March 29th, 2012 Comments off

Take a look at the “basic black” edition of The Lutheran Study Bible-Compact Edition. It’s now available from Concordia Publishing House, per customer requests. If you don’t know about The Lutheran Study Bible you can learn all about it here. The Lutheran Study Bible is the world’s most popular Lutheran study Bible. You can order a copy of the compact edition here, at this site, which contains additional information about the size of the compact edition. Here are a couple photos of the cover. And here is a sample of the type size. Quick summary of The Lutheran Study Bible’s features:

• 26,500-plus uniquely Lutheran study notes.
• Over 2,000 application notes and prayers for every part of the Bible.
• 80,000 center column cross-references.
• Over 900 cross-references to 120 full or half-page maps, charts, and diagrams.
• 220-plus articles and introductions to biblical books and topics.
• 31,000 concordance entries.
• Insights from early church, medieval and Reformation era church fathers.
• Uses the English Standard Version translation, one of the most precise English translations available.
• Durable Smyth-sewn binding.
• Gold page edges.
• Words of Christ in red.
As always, for the huge size of this image, click on the picture, then click on the image in the next window for the “super size” version.

Crypto-Calvinism and Lutheranism: Cling to the Formula of Concord!

March 29th, 2012 Comments off

As we approach the observance of Maundy Thursday, we do well to recognize that, by far, the greatest threat to the pure doctrine of the Lord’s Supper, within the Lutheran church, remains “crypto-Calvinism.” The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America many years ago embraced it and thus surrendered the Lutheran Confessions on the Supper. Here are the prophetic words of Hermann Sasse on this point:

Never has a more dangerous enemy of the Lutheran doctrine of the Lord’s Supper appeared than this pure crypto-Calvinism. It is dangerous because this time it has taken hold not only of Electoral Saxony but of a great part of world Lutheranism. It is dangerous because there is scarcely a Lutheran church leader – with or without a bishop’s cross – who grasps its theological significance. It is dangerous because the modern Lutheran Church no longer seems to know how to wield the weapon that alone can overcome this opponent: the Scriptural witness of the “It is written.” Here lies the fundamental reason why the Formula of Concord is today coming under such heavy attack. In it Luther’s doctrine of the Lord’s Supper is formulated in such a way that one cannot give it a new interpretation.

from Hermann Sasse, “The Lord’s Supper in the Lutheran Church” Letter to Lutheran Pastors, No. 6 (May, 1949); Translation by Norman Nagel, published in We Confess.

[Note to readers: Beware historical revisionism that substitutes the phrase "crypto-Philippist" for "crypto-Calvinist." The ELCA's edition of the Book of Concord uses the term "crypto-Philippist" to replace the traditional, and truthful, phrase: "crypto-Calvinist." As the sainted Kurt Marquart put it, "There was nothing "cryptic" about Philip's students and supporters in Wittenberg, but they clearly were trying to hide their Calvinist doctrine!"]

Judica: The Fifth Sunday in Lent

March 25th, 2012 Comments off

The Readings for the Day

The Introit: Psalm 43:1-2
Psalm of the Day: Psalm 43:3-5
Old Testament: Genesis 22:1–14
Gradual: Psalm 143:9–10, 18:48
The Epistle Lesson: Hebrews 9:11–15
The Tract: Psalm 129:1–4
The Gospel Lesson: John 8:46–59

The Prayer of the Day:
Almighty God, by Your great goodness mercifully look upon Your people that we may be governed and preserved evermore in body and soul; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.

Summary of the Lessons: Jesus Is Our Redemption
In the temple Jesus said, “If anyone keeps my word, he will never see death” (John 8:51). For Jesus came to taste death for us—to drink the cup of suffering to the dregs in order that we might be released from its power. Clinging to His life-giving words, we are delivered from death’s sting and its eternal judgment. Christ is our High Priest, who entered the Most Holy Place and with His own blood obtained everlasting redemption for His people (Heb. 9:11–15). He is the One who was before Abraham was, and yet is his descendant. He is the promised Son who carries the wood up the mountain for the sacrifice, who is bound and laid upon the altar of the cross. He is the ram who is offered in our place, who is willingly caught in the thicket of our sin, and who wears the crown of thorns upon His head (Gen. 22:1–14). Though Jesus is dishonored by the sons of the devil, He is vindicated by the Father through the cross.

Read more…

On Sad Days . . .

March 22nd, 2012 1 comment

My friend Pastor Weedon shared these words on his blog…great stuff, friends, for those sad days.

from Weedon’s Blog

A week of so many sorrows… Joanie’s mom sudden death on Tuesday morning… The funeral for little Lily Ann Haarmann yesterday… Cindi today at the funeral for Dan Kostencki while I finished up homily for Ramona’s service… Death everywhere.  “In the midst of very midst of life snares of death surround us.” (LSB 755).  Or as Bishop Laache said so famously:  “In this life we carry each other to the grave.”

Spent time this morning on the phone with my brother, hospitalized with an infection that may halt his chemo treatments for the time being – he sounded weak, weary, discouraged.  Spent time talking to my sister about how sad conditions are at the VA hospital where Maup is hospitalized.  Spent time in prayer for so many heart-aches of the parish and dear friends going through hellacious times.

In such downer moments, is there any comfort on God’s green earth that comes close to what the Church gives us in her hymnody?  I think not.

Why should cross and trial grieve me?
God is near
With His cheer;
Never will He leave me.
Who can rob me of the heaven
That God’s Son
For me won
When His life was given?

When life’s troubles rise to meet me,
Though their weight
May be great
They will not defeat me.
God, my loving Savior, sends them,
He who knows
All my woes
Knows how best to end them.

God gives me my days of gladness,
And I will
Praise Him still
When He sends me sadness.
God is good; His love attend me
Day by day,
Come what may,
Guides me and defends me.

From God’s joy can nothing sever
For I am
His dear lamb,
He, my Shepherd ever.
I am His, because He gave me
His own blood
For my good,
By His death to save me.

Now in Christ death cannot slay me,
Though it might
Day and night
Trouble and dismay me.
Christ has made my death a portal
Through the strife
Of this life
To His joy immortal.

Categories: Christian Life

If Jesus Held a Business Meeting

March 21st, 2012 Comments off


Found this on the “Internet Monk” blog site recently…passing it along:

Last week, Adam Palmer sent me a series of tweets he had received from our mutual friend, Mark Riddle. Here are just a few.

*Did Jesus always pray before his staff meetings?

*I’m guessing Jesus’ administrative assistant was tough to get past.  I’ll bet she protected him well.

*And then Jesus said, “Go into the world and cast my vision.”

*Then Jesus sat down with his exec team & said “What are your measurable goals for this year?”

*Then Phillip said to the Ethiopian, “When you get back, find some big dog power brokers in your church & get them on board with your vision.”

*And then Jesus said,  ”Let the children come to me, because  if you get the kids, their parents will follow.”

*Then Jesus said, “Do not worry about tomorrow, but stockpile canned goods because the world will end soon.”

*When they gathered in the upper room for supper Jesus said, “This is my brand, created for you. Share it where ever you may go.”


Mark Riddle is a consultant to many pastors and churches in the country, primarily in the area of youth ministry. He has heard it all, and then some. Mark thought he would have a little fun and imagine what a business meeting with Jesus and his disciples would be like. Welcome Mark, and enjoy.  JD

“Come, follow me,” Jesus said and his disciples did.

Some time later, eating around the campfire debating with the disciples how many lumens the moon produced, Jesus had an epiphany. This would be a remarkable way to get his message out to the world.

“You will be my executive disciple team,” he said.

“Peter, I’m making you my executive pastor, and on this staff structure I will build my church. Peter, keep the vision and cast it often. Make sure the other disciple leaders align and build their ministries around it.” Then, in the sand, Jesus wrote his mission, vision, and values statements. Judas took lots of notes.

Jesus looked at Matthew. “I’m making you the business administrator of my ministry. We’ll be launching a building program soon for satellite campuses all around the world to maximize our impact.”

“Judas, please file our 501(c)3 paperwork. We need to be compliant so that disciples who give to our ministry receive their tax deductions. We all know this is key to sacrificial giving.”

“Phillip, please start a missions department. Once people begin attending our regular gatherings they can go and serve.” Then he added to everyone, “Service is important, people. Make sure you give back.”

“Nathaniel, I’ve saved the most important job for you. You’ll be the youth pastor. There isn’t anything more important to my ministry than youth ministry (remember what I’ve said about millstones?). When we gather, take the kids away from the adults so they can be noisy. We all know that they have unique needs and the ministry must be age appropriate.

“Remember this,” Jesus affirmed, “the Gospel has levels of age appropriateness.”

“Nathaniel, I want you to look to the current trends in youth ministry in the temple and the marketplace and adapt them. Weigh the pros and cons of attractional versus missional ministry. Look at the statistics, surveys, experts, and best practices of others to shape our youth ministry. Coordinate with Phillip on youth missions trips. Stay compliant with Matthew’s policy for keeping food and drinks out of the upper room.”

Jesus continued, “When it comes to the ministry’s donkey, you’ll find it………….. Nathaniel? Was your hat on backward when we started this conversation?”

“The name’s Nate, yo!”

“Since when?”

“I need an assistant.”

“I just gave you the job. How do you need an assistant?”

“Look, you want me to hang out with the kids, that’s my job. Every youth ministry expert tells me it’s my job. I’m a relational guy. It’s my gift! I can barely return a phone call, let alone organize a ministry. I need an assistant.”

“You have a $300 smart-phone”

“It’s all about relationships, Jesus!”

“Were you just saying my name, or swearing?”


Jesus turned to his executive leadership team.

“Remember, team. You are leaders. Cast vision. Go into all the world and bring them back here to our services so I can save them. Amen?”


Jesus could tell they were getting excited about the vision, so he continued. “We’re here to make disciples.”

Peter held up his sword and yelled, “Yes we are!”

Jesus frowned and said, “That’s the wrong great commission, Pete. We’ll not compel them to belief with swords for at least a few hundred years.”

Dejected, Peter put his sword away, hung his head and kicked a little dirt with his sandal.

Jesus continued with his energized speech. “We’ll need a worship leader. Who’s up for that?”

“I am,” said a voice.

“Who are you?” asked Jesus.

“I’m Bartholomew. I’m one of your disciples,” said Bartholomew.

Jesus looked puzzled.

“You told me to follow you?”

Jesus, saving face said, “Sorry, I meet a lot of people, it’s hard to remember everyone’s name. You know how it is. Right?”

“Sure, I guess,” whispered Bartholomew.

Jesus turned to the other executive team members. “Who’s responsible for assimilation? I need a way to keep track of all these new faces!”

Bartholomew chimes in, “I play the electric lyre and I’m pretty good.”

“Ok,” Jesus concedes. “Meet with Matthew for all the appropriate personality testing to see if you are a good fit to be on the executive disciple team, then we’ll have a try out to see if you can play well enough to lead.”

Bartholomew looked confused.

Jesus continued, “You don’t talk a lot while you lead worship do you? I have a pet peeve regarding worship leaders who chit-chat when they have a mic.”

“We should coordinate our calendars,” Matthew suggested, changing the subject. “We don’t want all the stuff we are planning to overlap.”

Jesus sat back and watched with pride as Matthew led the staff meeting with efficiency, never varying from the agenda.

Jesus ended this first staff meeting with a prayer. “Father, help us change the world. There are people out there who are hurting, wounded and in need of you. Guide our ministry so we can impact the world with your good news. I pray that people come to our service this week. That you’d be preparing their hearts, even now, to come to our new building. I pray that they would become tithing disciples who give to us so we can fulfill the ministry you have given to us. May you expand our territory so we can impact this evil culture for you.”


Categories: Humor

St. Patrick Driving the Snakes Out of Ireland

March 17th, 2012 Comments off

Categories: Humor

What’s the Church For Anyway? [Hint: Check the Third Article of the Creed!]

March 17th, 2012 7 comments

Pastor Paul Beisel had a good post on his blog the other day, and I’m passing it along to you.

There is a Third Article to the Creed

Martin Luther brilliantly lays out in the Large Catechism the relationship between the 2nd and the 3rd articles of the Apostles’ Creed. The Second Article teaches us about Christ’s redemption for our sins, and all that goes along with that. But, says Luther, we would never know anything about this if it were not declared to us by the Holy Spirit in the Word. The second article describes what the essence of our faith is, and what had to be done to redeem us poor sinners from death and the devil. But the third article describes the means by which all of this becomes ours.

I think that there is, in modern Christianity, a tendency to want to do an “end-run” around the third article. In other words, many Christians, many Lutherans even, have the opinion that what Christ did for me to forgive my sins comes to me directly, without the use of the Word and the Sacraments, even through my prayer. One pastor yesterday at our Winkel described it as a “Christology without Ecclesiology.” Christ without His Church, or at least, Christ without his Word and Sacraments.

The concern is a valid one: if I am stuck out in a desert somewhere for many months, having no access to a Church, to a pastor, to the means of grace, or even a Bible for that matter, can I still receive the forgiveness of my sins? Granted, this is an extraordinary situation, but many men and women of the armed forces find themselves in these circumstances during times of war. What am I to do if I have sinned against God, but have no pastor, or a fellow Christian, around to comfort me with the promises of the Gospel? Or, perhaps a better question is, how might I refresh and sustain my faith in the Gospel?

First, I would say to that person that he has his baptism. One who is baptized is a child of God. His sins have been forgiven, and he lives daily in that baptism “through daily contrition and repentance.” Of course he also has prayer, but prayer is not, in and of itself, a means of grace. God has promised to hear our prayers, and to answer them. But he has not attached his promise of forgiveness to prayer like he has to Baptism, Absolution, and the Eucharist.

Here is also where one can comfort himself with the divine promises of Scripture that he has learned by heart. “Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved.” “God so loved the world that He gave His only-begotten Son…” “There is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” “The blood of Jesus Christ cleanses us from all sin.” A Christian can, for a time, sustain his faith through the remembrance of such promises, and through the remembrance of his baptism, but once he does have access again to a Church and the means of grace, he should be all means make use of them as soon as possible.

Surely wherever there is true faith, faith that clings to the divine promises, there is also Christ, the forgiveness of sins, and the good favor of God. But consider this analogy: one might eat a meal, and it could sustain him for a time, several days even, but eventually he needs to eat again. So also as Christians, our faith might be sustained for a time by our “last meal,” but eventually we will need to “eat” again.

Luther understood this better than us all–our salvation is through Christ, but what Christ did for us (2nd Article) is not given or made available to us except through the Word (3rd Article). “Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of Christ.” This is precisely why the Lord instituted the preaching Office: “In order that we may obtain this faith…” (Augsburg Confession, Article V). The second article of the Creed teaches us how God won our salvation; the third article teaches us how it is given and received, namely, through the Word and the Sacraments.

If we can experience God’s grace directly, immediately, without means, without the Word and Sacraments, then there is no need for the Ministry. There is, essentially, no need for the Church. Christ without the Church. Access to the Head without the Body. That is what a person is ultimately saying when he says: “I can go directly to God for forgiveness. I don’t need to go through a man.”

Categories: Uncategorized

Commemoration of St. Patrick, Bishop and Evangelist

March 17th, 2012 18 comments

As an Irishman, on my father’s side, I’m very pleased to celebrate Saint Patrick’s day as the day to honor the one who was instrumental in bringing the Gospel to my ancestoral people and home. Here from “” is the real story of Saint Patrick:

If you ask people who Saint Patrick was, you’re likely to hear that he was an Irishman who chased the snakes out of Ireland. It may surprise you to learn that the real Saint Patrick was not actually Irish-yet his robust faith changed the Emerald Isle forever. Patrick was born in Roman Britain to a middle-class family in about A.D. 390. When Patrick was a teenager, marauding Irish raiders attacked his home. Patrick was captured, taken to Ireland, and sold to an Irish king, who put him to work as a shepherd. In his excellent book, How the Irish Saved Civilization, Thomas Cahill describes the life Patrick lived. Cahill writes, “The work of such slave-shepherds was bitterly isolated, months at a time spent alone in the hills.” Patrick had been raised in a Christian home, but he didn’t really believe in God. But now-hungry, lonely, frightened, and bitterly cold-Patrick began seeking out a relationship with his heavenly Father. As he wrote in his Confessions, “I would pray constantly during the daylight hours” and “the love of God . . . surrounded me more and more.” Six years after his capture, God spoke to Patrick in a dream, saying, “Your hungers are rewarded. You are going home. Look-your ship is ready.” What a startling command! If he obeyed, Patrick would become a fugitive slave, constantly in danger of capture and punishment. But he did obey-and God protected him. The young slave walked nearly two hundred miles to the Irish coast. There he boarded a waiting ship and traveled back to Britain and his family. But, as you might expect, Patrick was a different person now, and the restless young man could not settle back into his old life. Eventually, Patrick recognized that God was calling him to enter a monastery. In time, he was ordained as a priest, then as a bishop. Finally-thirty years after God had led Patrick away from Ireland-He called him back to the Emerald Isle as a missionary. The Irish of the fifth century were a pagan, violent, and barbaric people. Human sacrifice was commonplace. Patrick understood the danger and wrote: “I am ready to be murdered, betrayed, enslaved-whatever may come my way.” Cahill notes that Patrick’s love for the Irish “shines through his writings . . . He [worried] constantly for his people, not just for their spiritual but for their physical welfare.” Through Patrick, God converted thousands. Cahill writes, “Only this former slave had the right instincts to impart to the Irish a New Story, one that made sense of all their old stories and brought them a peace they had never known before.” Because of Patrick, a warrior people “lay down the swords of battle, flung away the knives of sacrifice, and cast away the chains of slavery.” As it is with many Christian holidays, Saint Patrick’s Day has lost much of its original meaning. Instead of settling for parades, cardboard leprechauns, and “the wearing of the green,” we ought to recover our Christian heritage, celebrate the great evangelist, and teach our kids about this Christian hero. Saint Patrick didn’t chase the snakes out of Ireland, as many believe. Instead, the Lord used him to bring into Ireland a sturdy faith in the one true God-and to forever transform the Irish people.

St. Patrick’s Breastplate

I bind unto myself today
The strong Name of the Trinity,
By invocation of the same
The Three in One and One in Three.

I bind this today to me forever
By power of faith, Christ’s incarnation;
His baptism in Jordan river,
His death on Cross for my salvation;
His bursting from the spicèd tomb,
His riding up the heavenly way,
His coming at the day of doom
I bind unto myself today.

I bind unto myself the power
Of the great love of cherubim;
The sweet ‘Well done’ in judgment hour,
The service of the seraphim,
Confessors’ faith, Apostles’ word,
The Patriarchs’ prayers, the prophets’ scrolls,
All good deeds done unto the Lord
And purity of virgin souls.

I bind unto myself today
The virtues of the star lit heaven,
The glorious sun’s life giving ray,
The whiteness of the moon at even,
The flashing of the lightning free,
The whirling wind’s tempestuous shocks,
The stable earth, the deep salt sea
Around the old eternal rocks.

I bind unto myself today
The power of God to hold and lead,
His eye to watch, His might to stay,
His ear to hearken to my need.
The wisdom of my God to teach,
His hand to guide, His shield to ward;
The word of God to give me speech,
His heavenly host to be my guard.

Against the demon snares of sin,
The vice that gives temptation force,
The natural lusts that war within,
The hostile men that mar my course;
Or few or many, far or nigh,
In every place and in all hours,
Against their fierce hostility
I bind to me these holy powers.

Against all Satan’s spells and wiles,
Against false words of heresy,
Against the knowledge that defiles,
Against the heart’s idolatry,
Against the wizard’s evil craft,
Against the death wound and the burning,
The choking wave, the poisoned shaft,
Protect me, Christ, till Thy returning.

Christ be with me, Christ within me,
Christ behind me, Christ before me,
Christ beside me, Christ to win me,
Christ to comfort and restore me.
Christ beneath me, Christ above me,
Christ in quiet, Christ in danger,
Christ in hearts of all that love me,
Christ in mouth of friend and stranger.

I bind unto myself the Name,
The strong Name of the Trinity,
By invocation of the same,
The Three in One and One in Three.

By Whom all nature hath creation,
Eternal Father, Spirit, Word:
Praise to the Lord of my salvation,
Salvation is of Christ the Lord
(public domain)