(3/17) St. Patrick's Day Update: Crossroads & Coronavirus
PRAYER FOCUS TODAY
Pray for the mission of God’s church to continue and prevail despite challenges, trials, and sufferings.
And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. — Romans 8:28 (NASB)
In Portland, Maine they are celebrating St. Patrick’s Day with a “mandated curfew for establishments where groups gather from 6:00 AM to 2:00 AM on Tuesday, March 17-18.” The curfew is explicitly “intended to curb St. Patrick’s Day events and festivities.”
In other words, they are trying to make sure people don’t gather in pubs and bars on this holiday that has become all about self-indulgence (particularly excessive drinking).
St. Patrick was an Englishman born into a Christian family. He was taken to Ireland by pirates and sold as a slave. He took care of pigs. And then God met him:
"I was sixteen and knew not the true God, but in a strange land the Lord opened my unbelieving eyes, and I was converted."
Eventually, Patrick escaped and found his way back to England. And then God called him — back to Ireland.
"Many friends tried to stop my mission. They said, 'Why does this fellow waste himself among dangerous enemies who don't even know God?'"
Why? Because he came to know the mercy and grace of the God who saved him. Because he listened to his Savior call him to take up his cross and follow him. Because Patrick realized:
"Anything that happens to me, whether pleasant or distasteful, I ought to accept with [serenity] giving thanks to God … who never disappoints."
Or, as Paul would ask in Romans 8:35
Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?
And then answer with an expanded “no one and nothing” in Romans 8:38-39:
For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
God was at work through pirates and pig keeping in St. Patrick’s life. Rather than separate him from from the Lord, it drew Patrick near. As Patrick realized that, he entered into a mission that changed the country of Ireland so radically that they adopted this Englishman as their patron saint.
Brother and sisters, the Lord is still at work in our present peril. Rather than separate you from the Lord, this is a time to recognize he is drawing you near… and maybe preparing you to draw many others near as well... and maybe even use you to radically transform your community.
Please join me in praying that the Lord will use this unique situation to strengthen his church in our resolve to take up the cross and follow him - wherever he leads!
(The details of St. Patrick’s life are based on John W. Cowart, People Whose Faith Got Them into Trouble (InterVarsity Press, 1990), pp. 31-42).
This chart really helped me grasp what is going on with “social distancing” and and why it is so important:
[The chart is from a really long, scientific analysis of pandemics by a really smart guy named Tomas Pueyo, “Coronavirus: Why You Must Act Now” at Medium (3/10/20)]
CROSSROADS COMMUNITY CHURCH
A diverse people, united in Christ, with hearts being transformed by God’s Word, to expand His kingdom in our community
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