Monday, March 17, 2008

Happy Saint Patrick's Day!!!

I was going to post some more pictures of different activities we've been doing in school, but got sidetracked by someone else's blog, wrote a LONG comment there, and decided that I'd post that comment here. I was responding to the blog written yesterday, March 16th, by "Zirbert" (whom I actually know in real life, but don't expect to hear his name around here!!!). If you want to read what he wrote, go here:

This is part of how I responded to that post:

Today (Saint Patrick's day) reminded me why it is important for us, as Christians, not to "write off" even minor religious holidays... especially when they've virtually been appropriated entirely by the secular world. Much can be said by the way we celebrate.

To give a concrete example, during high school (when some whom I know and love were trying to alienate as many people as possible... I'm not naming names...) my best friend and I took great delight in celebrating even obscure holidays (I'll never forget the joy of Waitangi Day!). But whenever a recognised semi-religious holiday came round (one that most people wouldn't know had any faith component, despite the "Saint" at the beginning of the holiday's title), we used it for our covert evangelistic operation.

It went something like this. We bake TONS of cookies in a fun shape (shamrocks, one Saint Patrick's Day, with green frosting, of course), divided them up, and took them with us to all our classes, asked to be allowed to hand out one to each person there (this offer was NEVER refused) and if we could tell the history of the holiday. Almost inevitably we were accepted on this second offer as well - we were telling a free history lesson, after all!

Naturally, in telling our stories, somehow the Gospel just "slipped" out!!! Which isn't surprising when you're talking about Saints and Martyrs. Since the mini-sermon happened to be combined with a history lesson and a yummy cookie, nobody ever complained. In fact, we were complimented on the cookies and frequently told something like, "Oh I never knew that! So there really was some dude named Valentine?"

It's really amazing with you see someone who lives a distinctly un-Christian lifestyle, thinks morals are things of the past, and listens to music that would have instantly gone in the fire had I even considered bringing it home to listen to, come up and ask, "Can I get one of those things you were giving out?" He was refering to candy canes with attached little tracts that had a Bible verse relating somehow to Jesus' birth, which we had been given in bulk by our local Protestant nuns (yes, they exist - and so do Protestant monks). We had dressed up as elves, itchy tinsel and all, and handed them out, but had run out of the candy canes, and told him so. But he still wanted his own little Christmas verse!!!

Now, Zirbert, I doubt that ANY amount of money could convince you to dress as an elf, let alone hand out candy canes to strangers (even with a verse attached). And if you ever did something so silly, I can't even begin to imagine the reception you'd receive. (Okay, I can, but let's not go there, okay???) It's not your way. Deep theological discussion, tough questions, and points of logic you'd be all over, which is cool. I've gone that direction sometimes too, and will again when the situation calls for it. But the Lord calls all sorts, and that's because He uses all sorts, in their own ways, to minister and evangelise to those who wouldn't "get" it any other way.

Just don't let the pagans who have tried to suck all of the faith-basis out of our holidays have all the fun! And never, ever, ever let them forget (insofar as you are able) that there is a reason for and an history of the holiday, and that perhaps they should let a little of that reason speak to the way they choose to celebrate it.

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