Today is St. Patrick’s Day and it will come as no surprise to anyone who knows me or reads this blog to be told I did not preach about St. Patrick at all and, in fact, did not mention him or the day at all. I don’t have anything against St. Patrick nor his “day” nor any other day in the non-church calendar, I don’t think they are relevant to Sundays.
It is an inescapable part of being human to be effected by the people around us. We become like our parents, whether we want to or not. We become like our friends, whether we want to or not. This can be a source of pain for us. We want to believe we are free from influences. We want to believe we have come to our own conclusions, behaviours, actions; and then someone tells us we are “exactly like our Mom” or Dad or sibling or someone else. Often we know this, at least at some level. The good news is, there is nothing wrong with being like the people we have spent time with. It is a natural part of our development. What is more difficult to take is when we realize we have picked up some unattractive or even bad behaviours.
St. Paul writes, “Brothers and sisters, join in imitating me, and observe those who live according to the example you have in us.” (Philippians 3:17 NRSV) We can choose who we are going to imitate. We can choose who we are going to use as our examples. We simply cannot opt out of being influenced so let’s make good choices.