Thursday, 17 March 2011

Paddy whack

Happy St. Patrick's day!

Or is it?

Northern Ireland is a country with a long history of hurt.  Wrongs carried out by both sides in a conflict which has reduced to simmer in recent years but has yet to disappear. As a result if feels like everything has become a symbol for something or other, whether it's your choice of football team, alcoholic drink or the shape of your facial hair.  We express our identity through all sorts of things.

St Patrick's day is no different.  It is an optional public holiday which many refuse to take for fear of looking a bit too papish.  Others have adopted it as a day to demonstrate political allegiances - a show of strength if you will. Others still rise above the politics and either simply take advantage of the day off or use it as a light-hearted celebration of Irish culture and leave religion out of it.

St. Patrick was a great man of God, a missionary to this fair land when we were all still pagans.  Through the power of God the word of the Lord was accepted here and the Christian church grew.  St. Patrick's day reminds us of the goodness and strength of God.  Or at least it should.

Christians, let's stop perpetuating the hate.  If someone wants to celebrate in a way you don't like, let them, it's their call.  But let us redeem the 17th of March as yet another day of remembrance of the grace of God and let's celebrate it with praise to our King.

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