Faith musings from the seat of a forklift.
I am not one for writing posts in the middle of the week. Yes, I do have a few odd ones here and there. However, this is not something that will be habitual. Yet, there are times when I feel a need to post, if just become of a concern about how we do things. Such as when we celebrate a “holiday”.
Ever wonder why we celebrate what we celebrate? I sometimes do. I can understand celebrating when somebody retires. I can understand celebrating at the birth of a child. I even get it when celebrating a birthday, or Easter. However, there are a couple of “holidays” that I just don’t get.
We are halfway through Lent, and I get that. However, I don’t get why we celebrate St. Patrick’s day. This is one of several celebrations that don’t make much sense to me. Yes, I understand commemorating a great man of God. I get remembering how he was martyred in the land where he was once a slave. Yes, I even comprehend honoring his bringing the gospel to the people of Ireland. However, that is as far as it gets for me.
In the Bible, we read in the 13th chapter of Hebrews, at the seventh verse “Remember your leaders, those who spoke to you the word of God. Consider the outcome of their way of life, and imitate their faith.” This verse should be the guiding principle regarding how we honor and commemorate the heroes of the Christian faith. However, this is not typically the case. Sadly, the polar opposite is often the truth.
Lent typically begins with “Fat Tuesday”, which is followed by “Ash Wednesday”. “Fat Tuesday” is also known as “Mardi Gras”. This day is usually a day of celebration and feasting. During this time, people often indulge in those things that they intend to give up for Lent. Often this results in wanton drunkenness and fierce displays of violence. Not the way anyone wants to start the Lenten season. No wonder some wear masks during this period.
Sadly, St. Patrick’s day is celebrated much the same way. However, for whatever absurd reason, the beer is dyed green. Also, people seem to feel it necessary to make some claim of being Irish, even if there is not a single person in their ancestry who so much as even visited Ireland. Of course there isn’t anyone planning to give up anything, just the same wanton drunkenness, plus a large selection of foolish t-shirts which any number of sayings about being Irish. I imagine that for some, it is downright insulting.
I fear that for many, most of these holidays are little more than an excuse to go out and get drunk. It is not about honoring God or his word. It is a sad situation, in which we’ve taken something that may have been meant to reverence, and turned into revelry.
Yes, St. Patrick may have been a bit off with comparing the Trinity to a shamrock. However, it does not negate what he did as a Christian. His witness to the people of Ireland as a priest of God, ultimately dying a martyr’s death, that is what we should honor. It isn’t about the t-shirts and green beer. No, it is about the faith of a man who was willing to serve as a priest in a land in which he was once a slave. As for his bad analogies, Lutheran Satire has a great video on this. I have shared it below.
Why do we celebrate what we celebrate? Ultimately, I don’t really know or understand, especially when drunkenness is the form we choose for celebrating. However, I do understand that if we really want to celebrate the memory of the men and women who are strong examples of faith, then we should look at how they lived and seek to emulate that example. Indeed, the Bible actually has a warning regarding too much alcohol. However, a Biblical warning is often not enough for some. Some just have to do things the hard way. Yet, Hebrews 13:7 is the best possible advice for commemorating the memory of somebody, especially a much revered saint.