Green Beer?

kinnon —  March 17, 2009 — 2 Comments

Yep. It’s St. Paddy’s day. Which means, of course, certain people… drink green beer? How does that work, exactly?

Rewind 1600 hundred years. It is sometime in the early 5th century. A man from what we know call Wales, captured by Irish raiders, makes his way back to the verdant green isle after six years, enslaved. He later returns to the land of a many of my ancestors to share the Good News. Legend has Patrick banishing snakes from the island. (Though that didn’t stop lots of them from leading churches elsewhere.)

Between the myth and the man lies a story of a man committed to sharing his faith, no matter the personal cost. His work had such a lasting impact on Ireland that he is later named one of the patron saints of that always gorgeous, often troubled island. And March 17th is celebrated in his name – a national holiday in Ireland and an excuse to drink green beer in much of the rest of the Irish-infected world.

My last name is Irish. (Either a derivative of MacKinnon, or a misspelling of Keenan or Kennedy.) I ofttimes claim my celtic heritage. The reality is that I’m probably half-English, a quarter-English Jew, and a quarter Irish – making me a typical Canadian mutt. And as that mutt, I raise a glass to Patrick – an early model of the missionary life. There will be no green beer for me. I’d never put dye in a glass of Guinness. But I may just wander down to Allen’s on the Danforth and enjoy the sights and sounds of those hungry for a home they’ve never known – whether from Ireland or not.



A television editor, writer & director since 1978. A Christian since 1982. More than a little frustrated with the Church in the West since late in the last millennium.

2 responses to Green Beer?

  1. I prefer this myth … also known as the Deer’s Cry or Breastplate of St. Patrick … it is attributed to him as a prayer uttered during a time of persecution. When set upon by enemies he spoke this prayer and the enemies saw only a herd of deer.

    Lorica of Saint Patrick

    I arise today
    Through a mighty strength, the invocation of the Trinity,
    Through a belief in the Threeness,
    Through confession of the Oneness
    Of the Creator of creation.

    I arise today
    Through the strength of Christ’s birth and His baptism,
    Through the strength of His crucifixion and His burial,
    Through the strength of His resurrection and His ascension,
    Through the strength of His descent for the judgment of doom.

    I arise today
    Through the strength of the love of cherubim,
    In obedience of angels,
    In service of archangels,
    In the hope of resurrection to meet with reward,
    In the prayers of patriarchs,
    In preachings of the apostles,
    In faiths of confessors,
    In innocence of virgins,
    In deeds of righteous men.

    I arise today
    Through the strength of heaven;
    Light of the sun,
    Splendor of fire,
    Speed of lightning,
    Swiftness of the wind,
    Depth of the sea,
    Stability of the earth,
    Firmness of the rock.

    I arise today
    Through God’s strength to pilot me;
    God’s might to uphold me,
    God’s wisdom to guide me,
    God’s eye to look before me,
    God’s ear to hear me,
    God’s word to speak for me,
    God’s hand to guard me,
    God’s way to lie before me,
    God’s shield to protect me,
    God’s hosts to save me
    From snares of the devil,
    From temptations of vices,
    From every one who desires me ill,
    Afar and anear,
    Alone or in a mulitude.

    I summon today all these powers between me and evil,
    Against every cruel merciless power that opposes my body and soul,
    Against incantations of false prophets,
    Against black laws of pagandom,
    Against false laws of heretics,
    Against craft of idolatry,
    Against spells of women and smiths and wizards,
    Against every knowledge that corrupts man’s body and soul.
    Christ shield me today
    Against poison, against burning,
    Against drowning, against wounding,
    So that reward may come to me in abundance.

    Christ with me, Christ before me, Christ behind me,
    Christ in me, Christ beneath me, Christ above me,
    Christ on my right, Christ on my left,
    Christ when I lie down, Christ when I sit down,
    Christ in the heart of every man who thinks of me,
    Christ in the mouth of every man who speaks of me,
    Christ in the eye that sees me,
    Christ in the ear that hears me.

    I arise today
    Through a mighty strength, the invocation of the Trinity,
    Through a belief in the Threeness,
    Through a confession of the Oneness
    Of the Creator of creation

    St. Patrick (ca. 377)

  2. Adding dye to a Guinness would just be wrong.

    I’m just waiting for a Dutch holiday. I’m about a quarter Irish on my mom’s side though – Kinney, was McKinney way back when.

    Sonja – I love the Shield of St. Patrick prayer.


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