We have been walking the old paths. Linda and I, in our daily devotions, have been exploring “St. Patrick’s Breastplate.” It is much longer and more intricate than I thought. I had only really known it from a hymn in Common Praise. I have found his bedrock devotion to the Trinity, the Three in One and One in Three, to be inspiring. My experience is that evangelicals, like myself, devote themselves more completely to Jesus Christ, as Lord. Others find their devotion more skewed to the Father, and Pentecostal or Charismatic Christians emphasize the person and work of the Holy Spirit. Patrick calls me back to view of God the Trinity.
This view of the Trinity is by no means benign. That we view God as Trinity affects everything. Some will say that monotheistic views of God and the Trinitarian God are essentially the same but they are drastically wrong. God in a relationship of love, mutual preference, and utter self-sufficiency creates out of an over flow of that love. The monotheistic god would have to create from an entirely different motive. These are not equivalent views of God and Patrick well knew it!
Another thing about Patrick which inspires me is his powerful evangelistic witness. He inhabits a geographical space dominated by paganism and he loves the people and shares the “good news” to great effect. The overflow of love which proceeds from the Trinity flows to and through Patrick. This love expressed in word and witness impacts the people. Hearts yearning for love, because they were created by and for such love, respond gladly.
The proclamation of the Gospel and the invocation of the Trinity drove out the darkness of paganism, but this was not easy. Kings and magicians opposed Patrick’s Gospel and tried to kill him. Their very opposition occasioned the opportunity to demonstrate the Powerful Name.
Our time is quite different but much the same. The prevailing worldview is not supplied by Druids. The power of the overflowing love of the Trinity remains the antidote to the self-centred 21st Century paganism.
Our call, like Patrick’s, is to inhabit this culture. We are to incarnate the love which overflows to and through us from the Trinity so that our proclamation might have the authority that only comes from integrity.
The ancient path becomes exceedingly new when I truly “bind unto myself TODAY the strong name of the Trinity.” I am finding this path a good one for these old evangelical feet of mine.