Summary: This is a sermon on the Trinity in honor of Saint Patrick who made famous the illustration of the shamrock. It is topical and alliterated with Power Point available, just email me.
If this sermon is helpful to you look for my latest book, “The Greatest Commands: Learning To Love Like Jesus.” Each chapter is sermon length, alliterated, and focuses on the life and love of Jesus. You can find it here:
SAINT PATRICK’S DAY: THE TRINITY
Scott Bayles, pastor
First Christian Church, Rosiclare, IL
Saint Patrick’s Day is just around the corner and, of course, in our modern-American celebration that basically means lots of drinking and the occasional pinching of those who forgot to wear green. It’s really disappointing that Saint Patrick’s Day has regressed in many parts of the world to a celebration of Irish beer, but in Ireland itself it is still celebrated as a religious holiday by both the Catholic Church and the Church of Ireland. What’s really disappointing is that many people, even Christians, don’t have a clue what Saint Patrick’s Day is really all about.
Patrick was born in Berniae. Since his father was a deacon and his grandfather a priest, Patrick had a very religious upbringing. But when he was about sixteen, he was out working in his father’s field when Irish militia raided the land. Patrick was kidnapped and carried off as a slave to Ireland. There, he worked as a herdsman, remaining a captive for six years. During that time he writes that his faith grew and that he prayed daily. After six years he finally escaped by stowing away on a ship, traveling more than two-hundred miles, and finally returning home. When he was of age, he followed in his father’s and grandfather’s footsteps, eventually becoming a Bishop in the church. But in the latter half of his life, Patrick felt called to become a missionary—to go back to the land in which he had been a slave and share the message of the Gospel. In latter part of the fifth century, just four hundred years or so after the death of Christ, Patrick became instrumental in bringing Christianity to Ireland.
Part of his success came through the simplicity of his message. Where others had struggled to explain the concept of the Trinity, Patrick relied on a simple illustration. Legend says that he used the shamrock, or three-leaf clover, which was a symbol of national pride in Ireland at the time, to explain the nature of the Triune God of the Bible. Each leaf is separate and distinct, yet part of a whole. It’s just one clover, yet with three individual leaves. By making that simple comparison, countless Irish men and women were able to accept the basic concept of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Saint Patrick’s Day is supposed to be a celebration of the life of Saint Patrick himself, who died on March 17, as well as a celebration of the birth of Christianity in Ireland.
So, in honor of Saint Patrick’s Day, I thought I would try my best to do what Patrick himself did—unpack the most complicated doctrine of the Christian faith. And just as there are three leaves to a shamrock and three Persons in the Trinity, I’d like to break this intricate teaching into three basic questions: (1) Is the Trinity Scriptural? (2) Is the Trinity Sensible? (3) Is the Trinity Significant? So let’s begin with the first leaf of our clover: