Commemoration of Patrick, Missionary to Ireland
The Lord be with you
Patrick is one of the best-known of the missionary saints. Born to a Christian family in Britain around the year 389 AD he was captured as a teenager by raiders, taken to Ireland, and forced to serve as a herdsman. After six years, he escaped and found his way to a monastery community in France. Ordained a bishop, it is believed that Patrick made his way back to Ireland in the summer of 433, and there spent the rest of his long life spreading the Gospel and organizing Christian communities. He strongly defended the doctrine of the Holy Trinity in a time when it was not popular to do so. (He used the shamrock to illustrate the Trinity which is why it is associated with him.) His literary legacy includes his autobiography (called “The Confession of Saint Patrick,” see link: http://www.ancienttexts.org/library/celtic/ctexts/p01.html), several prayers (http://www.prayer-and-prayers.info/favorite-prayers/prayer-of-st-patrick.htm) and hymns (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q5Hin4swdKg) still used in the Church today. At least one tradition states that Patrick died in Ireland on March 17, around the year 466 AD.
Rev. Prof. Dr. Francis Nigel Lee has translated Patrick’s Early Morning Hymn (Patrick wrote in Irish Lorica) and set it to the music used for the U. S. Navy Hymn (meter: 88 88 88). The words follow.
Today I rise, and now commune
with my Creator God Triune.
He’s One, by grace through faith I know –
Jehovah God, from long ago!
He’s also Elohim. Thus Three
from, and until, eternity!
Today I rise, and with my eyes
I see how John did Christ baptize –
His cross and grave I clearly see.
I know He went there, all for me.
Because He rose up from His tomb,
my sin no longer means my doom!
Today I rise, while angels serve
I’ll pray with every ounce of nerve.
I’ll heed God’s heralds; read His Word;
then I will very gladly gird
His Spirit’s sword for works of love.
His saints must be: pure as a dove.
Today I’ll rise before the sun
its daily rising has begun –
before the rushings of the wind,
or thunderbolts have loudly dinned.
For God’s deep sea is in His hand,
and rock-firm is His promised land.
Today I rise. God’s strength me guides;
His might all day with me abides.
His wisdom leads; His eye shall guard;
His ear shall hear; His Word bombard
my foes. His gentle hands protect
and keep me on His road correct.
God’s angels guard me ‘gainst all snares;
against all vicious trials and scares;
against all of my carnal lusts;
against all nature’s stormy gusts;
against all harm, both far and near.
Against all foes, I have no fear.
Christ shelters from each harmful wound
no matter what my foes impugned.
‘Gainst burns and drownings, ‘gainst all falls.
Against all poisons, and all brawls
Christ guards me with His mighty sword.
So I’ll yet get His good reward.
My Christ is with me, and before,
behind, beneath, above — and more.
Christ’s on my left, Christ’s on my right –
there when I sit, and when I fight.
Whatever I may take to hand,
Christ’s there — when I’m asleep, or stand.
Christ’s where I rise, when every day
I read His Word and to Him pray.
When I’m discussed, He’s in the heart –
He’s in the mouth, right from the start.
He’s in the eye of all who see
and hear the actions done by me.
Today I rise, in God’s strong Name,
the great Jehovah to proclaim.
The Lord is always One and Three –
my God, for all eternity!
Yes, God is always One and Three –
my Lord, for all eternity!
Prayer: Almighty God, who in Your providence chose Your servant Patrick to be the apostle of the Irish people, to bring those who were wandering in darkness and error to the true light and knowledge of You: Grant us so to walk in that light, that we may bring others to the peace and joy of Your gospel and come at last with them to the light of everlasting life: through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever. Amen.
Other appropriate prayers include:
• For the church and people of Ireland
• For missionaries in physical danger and harassment
• For zeal in God’s service
Blessings in Christ,
Pastor John Rickert