The Celtic Revival: Patrick (2)
So, in the first place, I an exile am,
a plainly rustic and unlearned man,
who knows not how he should provide for his
own future. At the same time, I of this
one thing am certain: I was once abased,
just like a fallen stone, or one that’s placed
into deep mire. And He Who is mighty came
and through the goodness of His gracious Name,
has lifted me to set me high upon
the wall. Because of this I raise my song
and ought to shout aloud, to thank and praise
the Lord for all His blessings, all the ways
He cares for me both here and in the age
to come, so many that the wisest sage
could not begin to comprehend them all.
- Patrick, Confession (5th century)
For You have delivered my soul from death,
My eyes from tears,
Andmy feet from falling.
I will walk before the LORD
In the land of the living.
I believed, therefore I spoke,
“I am greatly afflicted.”
I said in my haste,
“All men areliars.”
What shall I render to the LORD
For all His benefits toward me?
I will take up the cup of salvation,
And call upon the name of the LORD.
I will pay my vows to the LORD
Now in the presence of all His people.
- Psalm 116.8-14
Near the end of his life, Patrick responded to an attempt on the part of British clergy to recall him from his work in Ireland. Some of their members were bringing spurious charges against him. Patrick was accused of ministering for money, making himself wealthy at the expense of the pagan Irish. And an old sin which Patrick had confessed to a friend many years before had come to light again.
The charges were bogus, and Patrick refused to leave Ireland to answer to the very British clergy who had refused to support his work from the beginning. What claim did they have over him now, after so many fruitful years of ministry?
Patrick’s Confession seethes with resentment and outrage at the British clergy. But he does not lash out at his detractors – though he is plainly scornful of them. Instead, he offers an humble and measured account of his ministry, couched throughout in the language of praise. If the British bishops had a complaint against Patrick, let them take it up with God. He saved Patrick by His grace. He called him to this ministry. He supplied all Patrick’s needs. He brought forth the fruit of conversions and disciples. And He knew that Patrick had conducted his ministry with integrity and self-sacrifice.
Patrick refused to take credit for anything he had accomplished, though what he accomplished was very much indeed, as we shall see. He dismissed the charges against him, insisting that those who knew him in Ireland could vouch for his integrity.
Patrick knew who he was – as a youth, an ingrate and unlearned; as an adult, unskilled in letters and unsophisticated in his ways; as a minister of the Word, entirely dependent upon the Lord. He knew that only God could make of one such as he a servant to bear fruit in his assigned field. So his Confession resounds throughout with praises to God, and a determination to stay put in Ireland and continue to pursue the work assigned to him by God.
Patrick was saved to praise God and serve Him all His days. What shall we render to the Lord, for all His benefits to us? Let us follow the example of Patrick, and suppress every mean, resentful, or base thought and affection, smothering them instead in words of praise and thanks to God, and works of service to those in the mission field to which He sends us each day.
Psalm 116.7-14 (Mit Freuden Zart: All Praise to God Who Reigns Above)
Full well the Lord has dealt with me; my soul from death He delivered.
My weeping eyes, my stumbling feet, He has redeemed forever.
Forever I before His face shall walk with those who know His grace,
And dwell with them forever.
Afflicted, I believe His Word, though lying men would undo me.
What shall I render to the Lord for all His blessings to me?
Salvation’s cup I lift above and call upon the God of love
And pay my vows most truly.
Lord, I have many good reasons to be resentful and angry, but many more to give thanks and praise to You, and to serve You today by…
The Legacy of Patrick
To learn more about the impact of Patrick’s ministry, and what we can learn from the Celtic Revival, order a copy of our book, The Legacy of Patrick (click here).
Take up a mission like Patrick’s
Our Mission Partners Outreach is designed to help you identify, as Patrick did, the mission field to which God is calling you, and to equip you, working with a friend, to begin working that field fruitfully. Watch this brief video (click here), then enroll for our Mission Partners Outreach right away.
Like Patrick, we depend on the Lord to support our ministry, which He does through friends who pray for us and share their gifts with us, as the Lord leads. As you pray today, ask the Lord whether He might use you to support this work. You can do so by clicking the Contribute button at our website, or by sending your gift to The Fellowship of Ailbe, 19 Tyler Drive, Essex Junction, VT 05452. Thank you.
T. M. Moore
All Psalms for singing from The Ailbe Psalter. Scripture taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
Saved to Praise and Serve
- T.M. Moore
- December 26, 2017
What shall we render to the Lord for His grace to us?
The Celtic Revival: Patrick (2)
T. M. Moore is principal of The Fellowship of Ailbe, a spiritual fellowship in the Celtic Christian tradition. He and his wife, Susie, make their home in Essex Junction, VT.