St. Patrick's Day 2007.
A drunk stranger sleeping in my living room. Roommates passed out in their bedrooms.
All of a sudden I heard a loud crash at the door of my apartment. Stumbling in the door was our downstairs neighbor, the words, "Oops! Wrong apartment!" slurred out of his mouth. After he walked back out, I locked the door this time. A stream of judgmental words and complaints crammed into my brain as I tried once again to go to sleep.
St. Patrick's Day 2008.
Indulging in green beer. Almost making out with that guy from my Psych class. Dodging the weird-o trying to get me to do jello shots with him.
When I saw a friend from Greek IV in the room, we sheepishly grinned at one another and stealthly avoided each other the rest of the evening. The next morning I had the worst hangover with even worse guilt over my actions from the night before.
Love it or hate it, St. Patrick's Day has become a day of intense revelry in Western culture. Over the years, I found myself engaging in one of two extremes- avoiding it altogether and judging those who overindulge. OR being the person who overindulges, navigating regret and nausea the next day.
God's call on St. Patrick's Day is for us to be people who model St. Patrick's deep love and commitment to the people around us.
But the true story of St. Patrick is one of risky love and courageous leadership. I won't go into detail except to say that St Patrick engaged the culture around him so well that he was willing to face oppression and even death to love the very people who once enslaved him (read this past article for more information).
I think God's invitation for us as we navigate St. Patrick's Day is to do so free of judgement and free of overindulgence. God's call on St. Patrick's Day is for us to be people who model St. Patrick's deep love and commitment to the people around us.
So as you make your way out to a St. Paddy's party, here's a prayer you can say to help you embody the bold life of St. Patrick.
A Prayer for the St. Paddy's Day Party
Christ be with me, Christ within me,
(Whether I walk through the doors of the church or the doors of a bar,)
Christ behind me, Christ before me,
(In the basement of my fraternity house,)
Christ beside me, Christ to win me,
(Remind me that my identity is in you. I am free of what others think of me.)
Christ to comfort and restore me,
(When my sisters/brothers judge me for not doing a keg stand,)
Christ beneath me, Christ above me,
(When I am cleaning up spilled beer and when I am helping a drunk friend head back to her home,)
Christ in quiet, Christ in danger,
(Whether the party is chill or out of control, you are with me. Help me to take risky action to protect my friends. Help me to make wise choices that protect myself.)
Christ in the hearts of all that love me,
(Who is keeping me accountable today? Remind me of the people who support me in my decision to follow you, even if it's unpopular.)
Christ in the mouth of friend and stranger.
(Teach me to see everyone I encounter as a loved child of yours. Provide me with opportunities to share about you with others this evening.)
In the name of the sacred Three, Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Amen.
This St. Patrick's day, let's be people who boldly love those around us. Let's have the grace and patience to see beyond others' behavior to their identities as loved children of God. And let's have the courage and humility to ask friends to keep us accountable for our choices.
May we honor God with our mind, body and soul.