Why am I living in Ireland?
I've been thinking about this recently, and not because of the weather. I've been thinking about it because St. Patrick's Day is just around the corner and I find myself heavily involved in the festivities in our home town this year. I have the privilege of serving on a committee with a group of great people here in Wicklow Town. This year St. Patrick’s Day falls on a Friday, so on Friday, March 17th the streets of Wicklow will be lined with families and children all decked out in green.
As I was helping prepare for this, collecting support just outside the Bank of Ireland, a little old lady, putting a few cents in my bucket said "He was a good man. He loved us." As she took her sticker and walked away, I found myself pondering what she'd said and I realised that in her words I found my voice.
If you know St. Patrick’s story you know he was kidnapped as a child and forced to tend sheep here in Ireland. The story of his escape is incredible, but not as incredible as what happens next. In a vision, he hears the voices of the people who had known him as a child shepherd, calling him to come back to Ireland. The specific words were "come and walk among us". That vision became the impetus for his return to Ireland. He returned sharing Christ, yet as he returned he didn't cloister himself away from the people calling them to Christ from a distance. Rather he did just what the vision had suggested, he walked amongst the people. He entered their lives. He loved them.
All that reminds me of what John shares about the coming of Jesus in the opening prologue of the Gospel of John where we read:
"The Word became flesh and blood, and moved into the neighbourhood. Jn 1:14(MESSAGE)
As we have come to Ireland, we've sought to do the same: to enter the neighbourhood, the lives of the people and in doing that we've found ourselves falling in love with the people we live with here in beautiful Ireland.
I keep thinking about that lady outside the Bank of Ireland and what she said about St. Patrick, and I find myself wondering; what might people say about me? My prayer, Oh that they would echo the words of that little old lady and say about me: "He was a good man. He loved us."