All Saints and Halloween
All Saints Day
This Sunday is All Saints' Day. On this day, we remember all those who have gone to their rest in the hope of the resurrection.
At our church, during the sermon time we are inviting those present to give a brief testimony. We are asking that people tell the congregation about someone who pointed them toward Jesus but who has now gone to their rest. We also have a candle lighting ceremony during communion.
Though we celebrate communion every Sunday, there is something particularly special about it on this day. I imagine the Communion Table as being only the small, visible corner of a vast table that stretches all around the world and throughout all time. Around the table are all those who have ever or will ever celebrate, the vast cloud of witnesses, the Communion of Saints. Christ himself is the host and we are his guests. It is the moment in which I get to celebrate with my heroes in the faith (with St. Mary and St. Columba and St. Augustine and St. Corrie etc.). I also get to celebrate with my father, whom I don't get to see again in this life.
All Saints' Eve
All Saints' Eve is this Saturday. There are Christians who feel that Halloween is an evil day and that it should not be celebrated. As there are some pagan roots to Halloween (as there are pagan roots to most Christian holidays), and as it is sometimes celebrated in an ungodly way, that position is understandable. I don't judge or mock those who don't feel they can participate in any way.
However, Halloween is also one of the very few days of the year, perhaps the only day of the year, in which getting to know our neighbors is encouraged by our culture. Even if you don't choose to decorate your house or wear a costume, let me encourage you to consider keeping your lights on and handing out treats to children who come by. Or consider going with children as they walk in the neighborhood, keeping them company and greeting neighbors. Consider seeing Halloween as an open door to love others, to bless them, and to get to know them.
For my part, I will be dressed up as one of the Crazy 88s from the movie Kill Bill, volume 1. Why? Because I have all that is required for the costume and I look as cool as I'm going to be able to look. My kids are goddesses, one Egyptian and one Greek. Because that's who they wanted to be. They are really into ancient cultures right now, and read about them all the time. I think that's great. So, I hope you give us . . . I mean them . . . some treats.