Mark Katrick, Guest Columnist Published 4:27 a.m. ET March 20, 2021
Rev. Mark Katrick(Photo: Submitted)
NEWARK -I am a proud graduate of Elyria Catholic High School, the class of 1971. Our boys and girls sports teams were named the Panthers.
My green and white school jacket is still hanging in the closet. Mom and dad worked hard to provide the kind of education that helped to build the foundation of my Christian faith. They later offered support and encouragement for me to attend Ashland Theological Seminary that led to my call as a pastor and teacher in the United Church of Christ.
My favorite color is green. My first car, a Buick Skylark, was yellow-green. The Evergreen Trees that nestled our home were dark green. The Willow Trees that guarded us like sentries and swept up intruders in their tentacles, were the first to have green buds in the Spring.
The best-ever Life Savers flavor was green until they changed it from lime to sour apple. I love putting on my green stole for church because it represents immortality (Psalm 1:3)and is symbolic of the resurrection of Jesus Christ.
It just so happens that one of my favorite days of the year is on March 17. On that particular day, if you forgot or decided not to wear green, someone Irish, or who claims to be, probably let you know about it. We wont discuss why I, as someone who is 25% Irish, always seems to forget.
This leads to the most important reason I celebrate St. Patricks Day with all its parades and revelry. Its because its only three days from the first day of spring, when blades of bright green grass and a few brave dandelions, begin to pop up from the snow.
So why do we feel its so very important to wear green in honor of St. Patrick? Is it because of Leprechauns and Shamrocks?
According to readersdigest.com, early depictions of St. Patrick show him wearing blue. The official color of the Order of St. Patrick, part of Irelands chivalry, was a sky blue known as St. Patricks Blue. One of the reasons green replaced blue was because of Irelands nickname, The Emerald Isle. The green stripe in the Irish flag also played a role. Traditionally, the green represents the Catholics of Ireland, the orange represents the Protestant population, and the white in the middle symbolizes the peace between the two religions.
To me, the most meaningful reason for the change is that St. Patrick is thought to have used green shamrocks to teach people about the Holy Trinity (God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit).
During one of my many moves as a pastor, I somehow lost my class ring with its dark green accent stone. If that were not so, Id still be wearing it, reminding me of the new life Christ gives and that Jesus loves me, just as I am.
Whatever your favorite color and holiday are, there is meaning and significance to all of these. They represent, each in their own way, the love of One who created, enables, empowers and celebrates with us.
It is God who has given us the gift of life in all its richness and fullness. And with all due respect to Kermit the Frog, it is God who makes it easy to be green!
Rev. Mark Katrick, St. Johns UCC
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