The LORD is my strength and my shield; in Him my heart trusts, and I am helped; my heart exults, and with my song I give thanks to Him. Psalm 28:7
The festival of St. Patrick is soon to be upon us.
Just about everyone I know is aware that, in honor of the Saint, it will be the day for the "wearing of the green." And, if the tradition holds true, it will also be the day for green beer, green ties, green socks, and the green dying of the Chicago River.
So, if green isn't your favorite color, you might want to hear about a place where green is in mighty short supply: the Aleutian island of Kiska.
I don't know how it is now, but way back when about the only thing on Kiska was a military base. Here and there a few sprigs of grass struggled for survival, and a small number of hardy shrubs blossomed for a few weeks during the brief summer.
That's it. Kiska had no green trees. Because it was so barren, the post's camouflage unit decided to build a tree. A frame was constructed of wire and canvas. To the trunk they attached some branches, glued on some plastic leaves, and put a fence around it with a sign, saying, "Kiska National Forest."
It was a pretty poor forest, but it was the best they could do.
You know, with all our technology and in spite of all our scientific breakthroughs, we still can't make a living tree from scratch. The best we can come up with is a second-rate substitute. That's true in other areas too.
Since the Fall, humankind has been trying to save itself. In that endeavor we have failed in a monumental way. This is why the Lord sent His Son to do a job nobody else could do. Jesus came to live for us, die for us, rise for us, and win our redemption and our salvation. His unique story is worth telling.
This is exactly what St. Patrick did. An ex-slave, Patrick returned to the land where he had once been robbed of his freedom, so he might tell of the eternal freedom the Christ has won for all.
From a devotion originally written for "By the Way"
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, thank You for Patrick and the great cloud of witnesses who have pointed to the Savior and the forgiveness He alone could win. May we who have been freed from sin, death, and the devil share with others the story of His one-of-a-kind love. In Jesus' Name. Amen.
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In Christ I remain His servant and yours,
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries