CBC news said today “St. Patrick's Day is not what it once was. What started as a celebration of a religious man has turned into a universal party. Today, St. Patrick's Day is most commonly paired with drinking large amounts of beer – particularly green beer – shamrocks and leprechauns. Shea says the evolution of the day reflects change in society in general. "Religious observance is not what it was in the 1920s or '30s. Attendance of all church denominations is down. We've evolved into a more secular society than we were 50 or 100 years ago. St. Patrick's Day is a nationalist celebration instead of a religious celebration now. St. Patrick's Day had been a low-key, religious holiday where pubs were closed and people went to mass, says Robert Savage, professor of Irish history at Boston College. But he says now, the Irish fully embrace the celebration of St. Patrick's Day and it's because Ireland has become more secular. I think it's partly because the profile of the Catholic church has been greatly diminished. The church has lost its moral authority and Ireland has become more European, more cosmopolitan and less religious."
Isn’t it sad that this great story of a man following God has become a story about green beer and partying? Even though this quote is about St Patrick’s Day, it gives a pretty good description of the downward slide the church is in today. This description is very similar as the church today is not what it once was either. On a side note as far as drinking goes, there have always been those that have had no problem with drinking within the church but there are those who were raised to abstain and should know better especially in the culture we live in. It appears that many Christians have caved to peer pressure and now have no problem with the “drink.” Just as this celebration has lost its focus, so have many in the church are now more interested in what society thinks and fitting into it. Is it really that hard for people to say they do not drink? Yes you will appear out of place but you should not cave. There is nothing wrong with not drinking. There are many areas like this that could be talked about and drinking is only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to trying to fit in with the world. James 4:4 “You adulterous people, don’t you know that friendship with the world means enmity against God? Therefore, anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God.”
This really isn’t about drinking but about the story of faith that has been lost. There is much written about St. Patrick but I was drawn to this quote from him. “The Lord opened my senses to my unbelief,’ so that though late in the day, I might remember my many sins; and accordingly ‘I might turn to the Lord my God with all my heart.’” He also wrote about how his faith in God grew as he prayed to Him while he shepherded the flocks: “But after l had come to Ireland, it was then that I was made to shepherd the flocks day after day, and, as l did so, I would pray all the time, right through the day. More and more the love of God and fear of him grew strong within me, and as my faith grew, so the Spirit became more and more active... In snow, in frost, in rain, I would hardly notice any discomfort, and I was never slack but always full of energy. It is clear to me now, that this was due to. . .the Spirit within me.” What a shame that this message of faith has been drowned out with green beer.
Maybe instead of focusing on becoming like the world we can learn from these words of a man who came before God and was changed and then went out in the power of the Spirit. He said, “I am ready and willing to give up my own life, without hesitation, for His name” Is it more important to fit in or do what God is calling us to do.
The church today is not what it once was. It’s time to take our focus off the world and put it back onto Jesus Christ. Psalm 95:6 “Come, let us bow down in worship, let us kneel before the Lord our Maker; 7 for He is our God.” May the real reason for celebration be foremost once again.