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Driving Out Snakes

March 17, 2021

“Beloved, let us love one another, because love is from God; everyone who loves is born of God and knows God.” 1 John 4:7

Happy St. Patrick’s Day! Today we remember the fifth-century bishop known as the Apostle of Ireland. Normally, I’d use this space to share some background about Patrick’s life and ministry, sprinkled with good-natured jabs about Patrick’s heretical analogies for the Holy Trinity.

Instead, I want to talk about how Patrick drove the snakes out of Ireland. The truth of the matter is that post-glacial Ireland never had snakes, but when did truth ever get in the way of a good story? Legend has it that Patrick was engaged in a 40-day fast when the snakes attacked him. He, in return, drove them into the sea. Good riddance!

The story of Patrick and the snakes is a good reminder that sometimes we need to intentionally drive out those things that seek to harm us. Snakes aren’t evil, but that’s the function they serve in the legend. What evil is seeking to devour us?

Last night, evil took on human form in Atlanta through the killing of eight people, seven of whom were women, six of whom were of Asian descent. Apparently the gunman, a young, white male, was trying to rid the world of temptation so that he wouldn’t have to deal with his self-diagnosed sex addiction. Racial motivations lurk near the surface, too, especially in light of escalating hate crimes against Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders in our country. Georgia state Rep. Bee Nguyen says that the shootings appear to be at the “intersection of gender-based violence,  misogyny, and xenophobia.” A self-described lover of God and guns, this young man went on a killing spree because of an evil hate that had devoured him. Eight people were killed, most because of their race, gender, and occupation. Innocent victims, all.

So by all means, have a green beer, eat some corned beef and cabbage, and remember that analogies for the Trinity can only lead you into danger. But today, let’s also drive out the snakes of hate that are consuming us. However we understand God, God is love. Not hate. Love.

And, Happy Birthday, Mom!

Be well, friends. You are loved.

God, we thank you for the witness of Patrick, and of all the saints in light. May we drive out those things would seek to consume us from within. May your Spirit dwell in us. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Image: Saint Patrick Catholic Church (Junction City, Ohio) – stained glass, Saint Patrick, (used with permission).

From → COVID-19

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