Going GREEN in Honor of St. Patrick

Written by Plant With Purpose on March 17, 2012 in General

Today as we celebrate our honorary holiday of Irish history and folklore, we find it an opportunity to ‘go green’ in more ways than one. During Friday staff devotions, we were reminded of some truths behind St. Patrick like that he was actually from Britain. He is one of the most well known survivors of child slavery as St. Patrick was originally captured and taken to Ireland at the age of 16.  He worked as a shepherd for 6 years prior to escaping and returning home.  Once home, he felt the calling to return to Ireland and share with them the good new, the Gospel of Christ.

Because of the remoteness of the British Isles, Christianity developed into the Celtic tradition that we remember today through things such as the Book of Kells, Celtic crosses, the use of the shamrock to explain the Holy Trinity and the design known as the Trinity Knot.  Over the decades following St. Patrick’s evangelism of Ireland, an understanding of Christianity evolved that embraced living in community, radical discipleship, a passion for peace and justice, a rich tradition of worship, affirming both men and women, and was ‘green’ in its stewardship of the earth (Saving Celtic Spirituality). 

The people of Ireland lived in close connection to the natural world with a dependency on the environment for survival.  They saw God in creation as David Adam explains in The Wisdom of the Celts:    

All things belonged to God and were contained in him, as the greater contains the lesser.  Because God was the Maker of the world, the world was seen as good.  So they could ask, ‘How can one love God without loving his creation?’ Respect for God was shown in respect for all around them. The Celts saw themselves as part of creation and not separate from it, so Columbanus could say, ‘He who tramples on the earth tramples on himself.’ The Celts realized that to harm the earth is to show contempt for its Creator, and it has been suggested that, if the Celtic understanding of our oneness with the world had survived, we would not be having our current ecological problems.  They saw the world as the primary way God communicates with people. It is through creation that God reaches out to us and through creation we understand him. If we get our understanding of creation wrong, this affects our understanding of God. 

So today, as we don green attire, cook corned beef, and drink green beer, let’s challenge ourselves to go green in another way.  Spend some time reflecting on how connected we are to Creation and how Creation reflects our Creator.  Allow these reflections to move you to action, simple steps to reduce our “tramplings” on the earth.

May these words of St. Patrick’s inspire further reflection:

Our God is the God of all, 
The God of heaven and earth, 
Of the sea and of the rivers;
The God of the sun and of the moon and of all the stars; 
The God of the lofty mountains and of the lowly valleys 
He has His dwelling around heaven and earth, and sea and all that in them is.  

Here are a few ideas to go green:

  • Go paperless on bills and start paying them electronically saving trees and the expense of stamps! 
  • Don’t just take your reusable shopping bags to the grocery store, take them with you on all shopping excursions. 
  • Join the local environmental conversation and jump in to watershed restoration projects, trash pick-ups, trail maintenance, etc.
  • Start participating in Meatless Mondays, cooking vegetarian food at least one day a week.
  • Consolidate driving time by doing all your errands at once. 
  • Invest in a reusable water bottle to fill and take with you.
  • Carpool to the farmers market, to church, or work cutting back on carbon emissions and creating more community!   
  • Make your shopping list on scratch paper or better yet, your smart phone.  
  • Recipes are popping up everywhere for green cleaning products.  Do some research and cut back on the chemicals in your house!  

 Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

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