I used to believe in everything, from fairies and Santa Claus, to mermaids, monsters and the Easter bunny. My parents kept the magic alive by hiding eggs, stuffing coins beneath pillows and leaving presents under the tree.

On the eve of March 16, my sisters and I would build and set leprechaun traps for St. Patrick’s Day. Sadly, we never caught the mischievous creatures. The morning of March 17 would come, and we would discover that they had sneakily escaped the creative contraptions, leaving chaos in their wake.

After I learned that my parents were the real coordinators of chaos, St. Patrick’s Day lost its excitement. It was something fun for kids or a day for adults to drink and party.

My perspective changed again when I discovered a Christian folk-rock band just before the pandemic. The best part? They’re Irish.

A leprechaun trap

A leprechaun trap Photo credit: Kyla Hornberger

I know that Christian rock isn’t a common obsession among Latter-day Saints, but I am proud to be a big fan of Rend Collective and their music.

With the halt of live concerts and tours, many artists resorted to online concerts and broadcasts to share their music during lockdown. Rend Collective hosted an online “St. Paddy’s Day Extravaganza.”

On March 17, 2021, I was shocked when I learned that St. Paddy’s was originally about missionary work.

“We want this to be about the gospel that St. Patrick brought to our island a long, long time ago,” said Chris Llewellyn, the lead singer of the band at the beginning of the broadcast.

According to History.com, St. Patrick was taken by Irish raiders at the age of 16. He spent six years as a slave in Ireland before escaping to Great Britain. It is believed that during his time in Ireland, he turned to God for peace and converted to Christianity. Years later, he returned, feeling prompted by God to share the gospel in Ireland.

Members of the 120th ward wearing green for St. Patrick's

Members of the 120th ward wearing green for St. Patrick's Photo credit: Emily Ormston

I found the story fascinating. I recognized that St. Patrick was prominent in the Catholic faith, but his story reminded me of the sacrifice of prophets and pioneers that I was familiar with. I resonated with the idea of sacrifice in giving one’s life to share the gospel.

Further into the extravaganza, the band talked about the scriptural meaning of the word “jubilee.”

In a talk from the October 1987 general conference, L. Tom Perry speaks of the Jubilee Year in the Old Testament. Quoting the International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, he explains that the Jubilee Year was a time to proclaim liberty.

“Truly, these messages couched in the tradition of the Jubilee Year, reminded the people of Israel of their spiritual genealogy and their indebtedness to the Lord,” said Perry.

I think that is one reason why I love Rend Collective’s music so much. When I listen to their lively tunes, I take time to be joyful and celebrate everything God has done for me.

“The gospel isn’t a message of do’s and don’ts. It’s actually a message of freedom. It brought freedom to our island, and it brought joy. Maybe that’s something that you need in your life right now,” said Gareth Gilkeson, the drummer for Rend Collective.

I don’t have much connection to Ireland, but I felt connected to fellow Christians as they shared their love for Christ and the urge to share and rejoice in Christ’s gospel.

Bishopric member of the 120th ward donning a clover chain for St. Patrick's

Bishopric member of the 120th ward donning a clover chain for St. Patrick's Photo credit: Emily Ormston

“Maybe you need to step out. Maybe you need to share the good news of the love of God to someone who is far off or to someone who is broken, someone on your street. Maybe there’s something there,” Gilkeson said. “That’s a good way to celebrate.”

I’m an optimist. I look for the good. Call me naïve, but I think there’s some goodness in St. Patrick’s Day that we may fail to recognize.

“How do we celebrate St. Patrick’s Day as Christians? How do we actually find something worthwhile in this occasion?” Llewellyn said in the broadcast. “That’s what this is all about. St. Patrick came to Ireland to tell us that the gospel sets us free and it’s actually good news.”

I now think of St. Patrick’s Day as a missionary-themed day. I like to think about the sacrifices people have made to share the goodness of God and Jesus Christ within my faith and other faiths. It may sound silly when St. Patricks Day means something different for others, but for me, it is a reminder to be grateful, share the gospel of Jesus Christ and have joy.