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On St. Patrick?s Day I tend to think back to a book I read years ago called How the Irish Saved Civilization. As someone of Irish descent, the title certainly piqued my interest, but I was ultimately compelled by the story of St. Patrick himself. Here?s the short version:

At 16, Patrick was taken from his home in Great Britain and brought as a slave to Ireland, where he stayed for six years. Although he came from a Christian family, Patrick didn?t actually connect with God and become a Christian himself until his time in captivity. He escaped Ireland and made his way back to his family in Britain, which then set the table for something that changed the course of history:

He returned to the culture that enslaved him. And he preached the gospel to it.

It?s amazing, really: A young man, abducted and enslaved by foreign pagans, having been robbed of some of his youth, willingly returns to the land where he was once a captive. Even better, he returned with a message of freedom for people who didn?t realize they were captives in their own right. Beautiful.

Patrick returned to the culture that enslaved him and preached the gospel to it. Aren’t we all called to do the same?

[quote]Patrick returned to the culture that enslaved him and preached the gospel to it. Aren’t we all called to do the same?[/quote]

Week in and week out, we have the opportunity to preach the gospel to the culture that once enslaved us. Even now, we have friends and neighbors and family members who are still held in the grip of materialism, self-sufficiency, greed, success, sex, or substance abuse ??just as we once were.

May we as church communicators never miss an opportunity to speak a message of freedom to them. May we as church communicators never miss an opportunity to confront and contend with the culture that once enslaved us, just as St. Patrick did so many years ago.

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