The Celtic Revival: Beginnings (4)
Our God is not as you suppose; instead,
He is the God of every man, the Lord
of earth and heaven, Who by His holy Word
has made the sea and rivers, and the sun
and moon and stars. He fashioned every one
of them, and keeps them in their place. And He
is Lord of all the mountains, every tree
and creature, and the verdant valleys. He
is God in heaven, and dwells within the sea
and on the earth and underneath the sky.
His life is in all things; all things are by
His grace created and sustained. He makes
them all to live, and rules without mistake
or error. He the light of sun each day
rekindles, and the light which guides your way
by night – the moon and stars – He makes for you
because He is a gracious God, and true.
- Bishop Tirechan’s Account of Patrick’s Journey, 7th century
“Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly that God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ.”
- Acts 2.36
Many believers’ view of God is too small. They have thought that God’s primary concern, and thus the focus of all His strength, ability, and will, is on getting them saved, keeping them happy, and making sure they get to heaven in a timely manner. Such believers don’t expect much of God – just enough grace to get them over the bumps and through the rough patches in life, with a few fun Christian friends and a nice church in the bargain.
Had this been Patrick’s view of God, there would never have been a Celtic Revival. Had this been his view of God and Christian life, he would never, once he returned home from six years of slavery in Ireland, have agreed to go back as missionary to that pagan island.
But that was not the God Patrick believed, nor his understanding of the life for which he’d been saved.
We need to listen more carefully as God reveals Himself to us in His Word. He is Creator, Sustainer, Owner, and Developer of the entire cosmos, and of the whole vast spiritual realm. He upholds and rules it by His Word of power, pervades and shapes it by His Spirit, and puts it to use for His Kingdom and glory as He pleases. He has sent Jesus for our salvation, that we might be forgiven, reborn, and adopted into the family of God, and He has made this Jesus both Lord and Christ, King of kings and Lord of lords, of Whose rule and Kingdom there shall be no end, on earth as it is in heaven.
Patrick understood this, and he did not hesitate, when God called him out of the comfort of his home and family, to return to Ireland on a mission to convert and disciple the very people who had kidnapped and enslaved him. He understood what it meant to be not his own, but the subject and servant of the Lord and Christ; and he gave up all his comforts, cashed in his inheritance (since neither family nor church would support his mission to Ireland), and headed back to the most pagan land in all of Europe.
Patrick understood how big God is, and he was not afraid of big visions or big risks or big undertakings or big challenges that might come from believing in such a God. Indeed, he seemed to welcome them with relish, as He rested on the greatness and promises of God to use little old rustic him to turn the nation of Ireland upside-down for Jesus Christ.
What about your God? Is He as big as Patrick’s God? Is He Lord and Christ? Is He advancing His Kingdom in and through you, into every nook and cranny of your Personal Mission Field?
And if not, why not?
Listen to God as He reveals Himself to you in His Word. This God is a big God, and He is calling each of us to follow Him, and not our own ease, comfort, or small visions of the Christian life. Let Patrick’s example inspire you to a bigger vision of God, and of how God can use you to bring joy to your world and turn it upside-down for Jesus.
1. What does it mean to believe that Jesus is both Lord and Christ?
2. How might you realize more of the promise of Ephesians 3.20?
Psalm 34.1-9 (Alleluia [Lowe]: Mighty God, While Angels Bless You)
I will bless the Lord at all times; I shall praise Him evermore!
My soul makes its boast in Jesus – Him we gladly all adore!
Refrain v. 3
Magnify the Name of Jesus!
Let us lift His Name in praise!
When I sought the Lord, He answered and from fear delivered me.
Those who look to Him are radiant; shamed their face shall never be.
When I cried to God, He heard me, and from trouble rescued me.
‘Round their camp His angel lingers that they may delivered be.
Taste and see how good is Jesus; blessed are all who in Him hide.
None shall lack for any blessing who in Christ will e’er confide.
Lord, grant me a big vision of You, and of Your greatness, and Your Kingdom, so that I…
Thanks so much to those of you who faithfully support the work of The Fellowship of Ailbe. God uses your gifts and prayers to reach thousands of people every day in over 160 countries. We praise the Lord for His having moved and enabled you to share with us in this ministry.
If you’re not a supporter of this ministry, won’t you please prayerfully consider making a gift to The Fellowship of Ailbe? Only God can move you to do this, and we believe He intends to support this ministry from within the ranks of those who are served by it. If this includes you, please seek the Lord in this matter. You can click here to donate online with your credit card or through Anedot or PayPal, or send your gift to The Fellowship of Ailbe, 360 Zephyr Road, Williston, VT 05495.
T. M. Moore, Principal
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.
How Big Is Your God?
- T.M. Moore
- March 1, 2022
Patrick had a big God. Do we?
The Celtic Revival: Beginnings (4)
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 the Champlain Valley of Vermont.
Books by T. M. Moore