Celebrating diversity

March 13th, 2019

This Sunday is St. Patrick’s Day. If you are of Irish heritage, this is a great day to celebrate Irish culture. If you are not of Irish descent, this is a great day to learn about and celebrate Irish culture! St. Patrick’s Day was established to commemorate the work of a Catholic priest, missionary and bishop on the day he died — March 17th. Whether you celebrate or not, there is much we can learn about cultural diversity from St. Patrick — who was not even Irish!

Patrick’s teen years

Born in the early fifth century and raised in Britain, Patrick was kidnapped and taken to Ireland as a slave at age 16, where he was forced to work as a shepherd. Patrick’s own letters relate that during this time he had an experience with God and converted to Christianity. Still, he learned the language, learned about the various Celtic and Druid tribal customs and gods, and learned the Irish culture. When he was able to escape six years later, he boarded a ship headed back to Britain.

Patrick’s mission, our mission

Although he returned to and was secure in Britain, Patrick had a vision of being called back to Ireland to convert the people to Christianity. He studied Christianity in France and was ordained as a priest before returning to Ireland. No one would have blamed Patrick for never wanting to see Ireland again, nor for resenting everything about his captors. Instead, he chose to embrace the Irish people and their cultural values in order to teach them about Jesus in ways they could accept. He often met opposition, but he is credited with faithfulness to God, performing many miracles, building over three hundred churches and welcoming most of the island people into Christianity.

Like St. Patrick, we are called to embrace all people of all cultures. When we do, we may discover we have much in common despite our differences. Our lives and our faith are enriched by our diverse friendships and perspectives.

Question of the day: What do you admire about other cultures?
Focal scriptures: 1 Corinthians 9:20-23; John 1:43-46; Acts 10:34-36 

For a complete lesson on this topic visit LinC.

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