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March 17, 2006

St. Patrick's Day

Be Thou my Vision, O Lord of my heart;
Naught be all else to me, save that Thou art
Thou my best Thought, by day or by night,
Waking or sleeping, Thy presence my light.

Be Thou my Wisdom, and Thou my true Word;
I ever with Thee and Thou with me, Lord;
Thou my great Father, I Thy true son;
Thou in me dwelling, and I with Thee one.

Be Thou my battle Shield, Sword for the fight;
Be Thou my Dignity, Thou my Delight;
Thou my soulís Shelter, Thou my high Tower:
Raise Thou me heavenward, O Power of my power.

Riches I heed not, nor manís empty praise,
Thou mine Inheritance, now and always:
Thou and Thou only, first in my heart,
High King of Heaven, my Treasure Thou art.

High King of Heaven, my victory won,
May I reach Heavenís joys, O bright Heavenís Sun!
Heart of my own heart, whatever befall,
Still be my Vision, O Ruler of all.

This is one of the first hymns the boys learned. We love singing hymns together, and they sing this one with extra zest.

On Thursday I made the boys eggs with spinach. Packed their lunches with green veggies--broccoli, snow peas, green peppers, celery--for dipping. I wore my only green shirt. I told the boys about St. Patrick's Day, and how we can remember on this day how the Lord used him to bring the Gospel to Ireland. We also talked about the differences between how things are celebrated culturally and Christianly.

Halfway through the day, someone told me I was a day early and a dollar short. I did all these special things for the wrong day!

One of our boys' first readers was about St. Patrick, "A Pet for Pat." It is one of the early short-vowel readers in the Veritas Press "Phonics Museum"--gotta love homeschool materials that emphasize the spreading of the Gospel and history and art. Later today we also received an e-mail from some friends in Ukraine, which I wanted to share with you:

Yes, even in Ukraine we're wearing green today, but did you know that Patrick wasn't Irish? He was actually born Maewyn Succat about 390 A.D. in England to wealthy parents. Patricius was his Romanicized name and he later came to be known as "Patrick." When he was just 16 he was kidnapped by Irish raiders and enslaved, forced to spend lonely days tending sheep. It was during this time of reflection that he came to place his faith in Jesus Christ, and after six years finally managed to escape. Before leaving Ireland, however, he had a dream of an angel telling him to return to his captors and tell them the good news of Christ's sacrifice for them. Soon after, Patrick began religious training, a course of study that lasted more than fifteen years, and then he returned to Ireland.

One of the things that made Patrick so successful is that, being all things to all people for the sake of Christ, he became Irish. He lived as they lived, spoke their language, adopted their customs, and considered himself as one of them. That's something that we desire to do as well. As we settle again among the Ukrainian people, please pray that we would integrate into their language and culture, and that Christ would be seen through our words and deeds.

We also hope that today, as you remember and honor Patrick, you'll give highest praise to the One on whom Patrick placed his affection -- the Holy One who motivated a slave to return gladly to his captors.

--Bob and Andrea Burnham, Odessa


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