Saint Patrick: Practical Theologian, Social Activist
- Tuesday, March 08, 2011
"I bind unto myself today
The strong Name of the Trinity
By invocation of the same,
The Three in One and One in Three"
The hymn was several stanzas long, and the last two stanzas were especially memorable and moving:
"Christ be with me, Christ within me,
Christ behind me, Christ before me,
Christ beside me, Christ to win me,
Christ to comfort and restore me.
Christ beneath me, Christ above me,
Christ in quiet, Christ in danger,
Christ in hearts of all that love me,
Christ in mouth of friend and stranger."
"I bind unto myself the Name,
The strong Name of the Trinity;
By invocation of the same.
The Three in One, and One in Three,
Of Whom all nature hath creation,
Eternal Father, Spirit, Word:
Praise to the Lord of my salvation,
Salvation is of Christ the Lord."
PATRICK THE SOCIAL ACTIVIST
History confirms that Patrick was a practical theologian, but not necessarily as an apologist for the Trinity. Instead, Patrick was one of Christianity's first outspoken opponents of slavery.
Patrick's Letter to Coroticus described converts taken into slavery, with the sign of the cross still fresh on their foreheads. Patrick pleaded for their safe return. He begged Britain's Christian leadership for help, but his pleas fell on deaf ears. Patrick's decision to identify himself with the Irish, a culture outside of Roman Christianity, diminished his ability to influence the church in Britain.
Patrick was especially concerned about how Christian women suffered in slavery. Cahill quotes Patrick saying "But it is the women kept in slavery who suffer the most -- and who keep their spirits up despite the menacing and terrorizing they must endure. The Lord gives grace to his handmaids; and though they are forbidden to do so, they follow him with backbone."
His outcries against slavery were eventually successful. During Patrick's lifetime (or shortly after), the slave trade in Ireland stopped.
Although slavey seems far from the modern world, a modern equivalent still exists: human trafficking. Some sources suggest that 100,000 minors suffer as sex-slaves within the U.S. borders alone, and even more shocking, 100 million people in India are sex-slaves. Of India's prostitute population, 40% are children. The net result: more human beings experience slavery today, in the form of human trafficking, then at any other time in human history. These statistics are both shocking and sickening. But they are also appropriate for this article.
St. Patrick's Letter pleaded for such as these: "Hence the Church mourns and laments her sons and daughters whom the sword has not yet slain, but who were removed and carried off to faraway lands, where sin abounds openly, grossly, impudently. There people who were freeborn have, been sold, Christians made slaves, and that, too, in the service of the abominable, wicked, and apostate [unbelievers]."
Recently on Saint Patrick
Have something to say about this article? Leave your comment via Facebook below!
Listen to Your Favorite Pastors
Add Crosswalk.com content to your siteBrowse available content