Patrick was not Irish. He was kidnapped by the Irish and sold as a slave. He escaped only to go back to Ireland as a missionary. He was the first missionary to really try to understand a culture and bring Christianity into the culture instead of trying to force a culture to change in order to accept Christianity.
The Irish loved his courage, his sense of humor and his ability to communicate the truth of the gospel in a way they could understand. Even before Patrick arrived and began to preach the truth the Irish were fascinated with triads. The elements were divided into three: earth, wind and fire; the shamrock with three leaves; the finger with three joints. When Patrick learned of this he used it to introduce them to the triune God. The Irish may be the only culture in history that so quickly accepted the mystery of the trinity. Nothing made more sense to an Irishman.
I recently finished reading The Celtic Way of Evangelism. In it there are prayers of the early Irish Christians. There is something both beautiful and powerful in the ancient prayers of our faith. I just wanted to share some with you today. Notice the love they have for the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.
I am bending my knee
In the eye of the Father who created me
In the eye of the Son who purchased me
In the eye of the Spirit who cleansed me
In friendship and affection.
I lie down this night with God.
And God will lie down with me;
I lie down this night with Christ,
And Christ will lie down with me;
I lie down this night with the Spirit,
And the Spirit will down with me;
God and Christ and the Spirit
Be lying down with me.
The Three who are over me,
The Three who are below me,
The Three who are above me here,
The Three who are above me yonder,
The Three who are in the earth,
The Three who are in the air,
The Three who are in the heavens,
The Three who are in the great pouring sea.
I rise today in power’s strength, invoking the Trinity,
believing in threeness, confessing the oneness,
of creation’s Creator.
For to the Lord belongs salvation
And to the Lord belongs salvation
And to Christ belongs salvation
May your salvation, Lord, be with us always.
And finally, a prayer for all seasons…
Christ with me, Christ before me, Christ behind me;
Christ within me, Christ beneath me, Christ above me;
Christ to the right of me, Christ to the left of me.
Christ be on the tongue of all who speak to me,
Christ in the eye of all who see me,
Christ in the ear of all who here me.