I arise today through
God’s strength to pilot me, God’s might to uphold me,
God’s wisdom to guide me, God’s eye to see before me,
God’s ear to hear me, God’s word to speak for me,
God’s hand to guard me, God’s way to lie before me,
God’s shield to protect me, God’s host to secure me –
– St. Patrick’s Breastplate, 5th century
I share the above snatch of prayer/poetry in honor of the memory of St. Patrick here in the U.S., but also because tomorrow the Board of Christian Education is sponsoring an Irish themed learning experience for children of all ages. They will be showing the animated film Secret of the Kells which, though fictional, does have some basis in fact and history. There is a very famous Irish document called The Book of Kells, which is a beautifully illustrated publication of the Four Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke and John). The art work was created by Christian monks living in the Abbey of Kells and is dated to have been created sometime between the 5th – 8thcenturies.
Since St. Patrick is credited with bringing the Christian faith to the island of Ireland there will also be a presentation tomorrow about the life of Patrick, as well as some Irish themed games, activities, and snacks.
So, if you miss your celebration of St. Patrick tonight and want to enjoy a festive time with some church friends learning about him and The Book of Kells, come to the Kelsey Building tomorrow at 2:30 p.m. and join in the fun.
Borrowing from my colleague The Rev. Dr. Laurie Hafner, Senior Pastor at Coral Gables Congregational UCC let me close with a couple of Irish blessings she offered in her weekly column today:
May your glass be ever full
May the roof over your head be always strong
And may you be in heaven half an hour
before the devil knows your dead.
May your troubles be less,
and your blessings be more,
and nothing but happiness
come through your door!
May the Good Lord take a liking to you …
but not too soon.
R. Steven Hudder
Pastor, Christ Congregational United Church of Christ
Palmetto Bay, Florida