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Beyond the Pots of Gold and inside the Walls of Faith

I often talk about Muddy Church being beyond the walls - taking the God we serve through those doors and recognising the great cathedrals of the world around us. The heart of Muddy Church is missional, to go, to share, to be and know the Good News, to venture in new ways and ancient traditions to connect afresh with God. This year I stepped inside this church and felt all of that within the walls - hearing the peace and silence, smelling the fragrance of worship and touching the stones that were placed there hundreds of years ago.

I had been asked to create a trail for St Patricks day for the Church of Ireland and taking that beautiful breastplate prayer had crafted together a wander that could take in the world and consider where we sense God surrounding us. But I had never been to this place that would add so much more. So, it was an honour to be able to visit the church at Saul, the 'cradle' created by St Patrick in 425AD and to think again of what he wrote and what it meant. Sitting in the peace of the sanctuary the surrounds of a God above in that roof that kept the storms away, beneath, the hallowed ground that had been dug out and the rocks brought to this place and laid together to form a home where worshippers could come and find God and each other.

Touching the cold rocks that formed the walls, standing for all the years, coming out of the ground to create a place for God reminded me of that steadfast love. There was a beauty in the simplicity of the building, a grandeur beyond gold and magnificent stonework.

St Patrick's life was not about a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow or leprechauns and clovers, it was about a man who took the complications of life, the possibilities of fresh freedom to go back to simplicity of faith, trust and love. The hands that were bound were freed, not for his own glory, but to go back to that place of darkness and to bring light and a greater freedom. The wonder was not in a fable of lucky charms but in the miracle working God.

The church is built at Saul, the same name as the persecutor who had the sight giving conversion that founded the church, through shipwrecks, imprisonment, sickness and trials. Our call is not about some faith in luck or hope in fables but in trials and transformation, daring to go beyond the walls and to build them in new places and to see afresh God all around us.


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