Friday, August 22, 2008

st. patrick on mowing grass and dirty diapers

i don't know, maybe it's just my stage of life with kids, or maybe it's the historic cultural shift that Western culture is in right now :) ....but i often wonder, what does Jesus have to do with hanging out with my kids and changing dirty diapers? or how about moving the lawn? does Christian spirituality enter at all into the regular grind of life?

last fall i read a biography on st. patrick. you know, that green dude from ireland who loved four leaf clovers. :) actually, this guy's turned out to be my new hero (although i'm not sure i had an 'old'). you can't help but idolize a guy who gets a vision showing him how to escape from slavery....executes the escape plan....then once free, goes back to the people that ripped him from his wealthy home to tell them the good news about Jesus the true King. what a guy!

i found a written prayer attributed to st. patrick called the lorica (breastplate) of st. patrick. even though i've never used written prayers before, this prayer has been foundational for me during the past eight months. i've used it to center myself first thing in the morning when i am really grumpy (to use a kind word) from not sleeping much (our young kids don't sleep much....but it's getting better!)

it starts like this..."i rise today through a mighty strength, the invocation of the Trinity"

i've been seeing more and more how the Trinity is key for understanding our identity as humans. the Trinity is the foundation for community, relationships and sexuality, not to mention the reason for creation itself. i usually don't think much about God as Trinity when I pray. now i do.

"i rise today through the strength of heaven, light of the sun, splendor of fire..."

this is where the dirty diapers come in. somehow, st. patrick was able to see God in nature and in everyday things like fire and wind...and others added beer. st. brigid's praise hymn includes dreaming of having enough beer - a lake full - to be a worthy of sharing with Jesus the king. the celts in general were known for this. (i just picked up a whole prayer book from their writings.)

for the past 500 years Western culture has dichotomized life into the "sacred" and the "secular," the "public" and the "private." in today's postmodern world, this split absolutely must be mended. st. patrick is helping me break out of it a bit. (and attitude toward beer might just be a theological indicator of how someone is doing with that sacred/secular, natural/supernatural, private/public schism :).

"Christ with me, Christ before me, Christ behind me, Christ in me, Christ beneath me, Christ above me me, Christ on my right, Christ on my left, Christ when I lie down, Christ when i sit down."

physical spaces ("before," "behind," "beneath") are as much the domain of Jesus the Messiah as inward, personal convictions ("with," "in"). the amazing thing about the Christian God is that he is seated high above all things, outside even of the physical expanse of the universe, and he is also here, present in the everyday places of life. to the extent that i am aware of the presence of Christ in my day and in my physical space, i am living as a true christ follower.