A Story from Old Ireland – Conclusion
Adjusting his sleeping brother’s weight in his arms, Sean rose, ready to hurry across the stream and be off.
Just then, a tall man entered the clearing. His simple robe was hand woven and he leaned on a stout walking stick. The moonlight revealed a full beard, and a kind face.
“Ah, lad. May God be praised! He led me to you. Though what a young one with such a burden should be doing in the middle of the forest I have no idea.
“Are you alone?” the newcomer asked warily.
Somehow Sean felt he could trust this man. He liked the stranger whose words seemed stranger yet. Hesitantly he said, “I would praise God if I could know Him, Sir. But I’m trying to get to Comber by dawn.”
Sean stopped before he finished his story. What if this man couldn’t be trusted after all? What if he came from the druid king himself.
“Then, praise be to God, indeed! I, too, seek the village Comber, but alas, I’ve lost my way. The brothers told me not to travel after dark, but I reminded them the moon would be full and God would use it to guide me. Little did I think He would also use a slim lad.”
The baby stirred and cried softly in his sleep.
“And an infant in that bundle you carry. I see. I was told there would be a sacrifice tonight at the druids’ fires in Lisburn.”
Sean bent his head to hide his fear.
“They took a lamb, lad. The children in your village sleep safely.”
“And who might you be?” Sean found the courage to ask.
“My name is Patrick, and I’m going to plant God’s church in Comber. Already a few believers gather quietly. And the High King of this part of Ireland himself now follows the way of Christ. God’s will be done.”
“This talk seems strange to me, sir,” Sean said. “My mother has told me about a great God, Creator of all heaven and earth, but my father thinks she’s mad.”
“I see,” the older man replied, smiling. “Simple faith can sometimes be confused with madness. Your mother may even be a true believer,” Patrick said softly.
“And now, what will you do?” he asked.
“My uncle in Comber is poor and already has a large family…” Sean began.
“Then go back home to Lisburn, my young friend. Listen to your mother if she’ll give you the living words of God. I’ll come to your village soon and look for you,” Patrick assured him.
Sean felt a gladness in his heart as he turned back to the way he had come. Then he stopped.
“Here. Take this,” he said as he thrust the lunch bag into Patrick’s hands and turned again to the path he had so recently traveled.
“God’s peace goes with you, lad. Jesus be your Guide and Savior. Let Him be your Vision,” Patrick’s words sang softly after him.
Deep in the woods, an owl asked, “Whoooo?”
“Jesus,” Sean repeated to himself, walking carefully over roots through the undergrowth. Bright moonlight lit his way.
Many consider Patrick of Ireland to be one of the most important characters in the long list of missionary heroes marching through history’s pages. It’s not hard to find out the truth about this man for whom we name our March holiday, St. Patrick’s Day. Interesting, he wasn’t a Saint except in the way all of us are ‘saints’ (Romans 1:7) and he didn’t chase the snakes out of Ireland. He may have used the shamrock to teach a biblical truth, but even that story comes with little evidence. You can find out many interesting facts, though, about his early life, the many great adventures that followed, and his enormous, lasting impact advancing the Kingdom of God. Carry on and find out for yourself! Think up fun ways to share what you find with others. Take the whole month to celebrate Patrick. You won’t regret it.