Some people just don’t want to celebrate that pagan holiday Halloween, but from the name to the repurposing designed by the church, I think we’ve got some good things to celebrate for Halloween.
Of course, All Hallows Eve or all Souls Eve is on October 31st, and it can be a celebration of all those who came before us. When we forget we start thinking that the creator started in the 1960s Ex Nihilo and created the United States then and there. Tomorrow we could be remembering the people that carried our faith down through the ages to us, the people who the Holy Spirit empowered to make a stand for their faith and their love of God and neighbor.
Sure there are costumes (and I plan to post something about costumes tomorrow) and candy and fun, but there’s also memory of the ephemeral nature of live in the here and now and the eternal nature of our being which is at best bitter sweet without the promises of God. That is for every person we know and have known or have heard about is both an eternal being and a temporal being. Everyone of them has a life that will end and yet mysteriously continue. In that moment of reflection we can enjoy the good memories and maybe even enjoy the bad like that least favorite piece of candy.
Reflection on our mortality and the mortality of those around us can empower us to evangelize, but not evangelize in the sloppy and lazy way that is a dry attempt to convince someone of your correctness and righteousness. This is evangelism that recognizes that the work of Christ was to break down barriers between people – a ministry of reconciliation and provision. More than all, it was a ministry of friendship.
And when we start loving people living and passed on like that we can start asking questions, good solid questions.
Can we pray for the dead?
Is there purgatory? And what does it mean to be purged of all the broken relationships we’ve had?
Where do people wait for the resurrection?
All this leads to perhaps a greater deal of openness in our wrestling with scripture and relationships and understanding what Christ came here to do. It doesn’t happen through throwing the candy away or just dressing up, but when we faithfully engage with the holiday as a chance for reflection and humor, we can truly begin to wonder about loving those around us and praying for those arounds us.