Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Halloween Opportunities and Benedictions

----Today is the actual day in 1517 that Martin Luther nailed his theses to the Wittenberg door.  But for far longer, it's been Halloween, a holiday that both delights and bedevils the modern believer.

--I am a believer who has concerns about Halloween, but they're not the kinds of concerns that some Christians have.  I'm not worried about opening a portal through which evil will enter the world--that portal has been wide open for a long time.  I'm not worried about demon possession.  I am worried about how much we spend and whether or not that's the best use of our money.

--But I'm past the age of legislating all of that.  I'm happy to let grown people make their own decisions.  But I will exhort us all to at least think about these decisions.

--I wonder if I have underestimated this holiday as a way of letting us be creative in a way that most of us aren't sure we can be creative in our every day lives.  Yesterday was our pumpkin decorating day at school; I went with decorating rather than carving because I thought it would be less messy and less risk of knife wounds.  I was interested to see how warily people approached the table with art supplies.  But many of them really got into the spirit of creating.

--I will likely see a similar dynamic today, when I help judge the costume contest.  Most adults don't have much opportunity to don a costume throughout the rest of the year.

--One of the students yesterday thanked me for bringing all the supplies and organizing the opportunity to decorate a pumpkin.  She said, "It's like being a kid again."  I resolved right there to look for other similar opportunities throughout the year.  Homemade Valentines, anyone?

--As I watched people creating pumpkins, I thought of those parables of Jesus that begin:  "The Kingdom of God is like . . ."  Jesus often used family metaphors or agricultural worker metaphors.  I thought, "The Kingdom of God is like pumpkin decorating day."  We have a variety of pumpkins, a variety of supplies, and a variety of brains creating wonderful things.  No two pumpkins are the same, and they all have a beauty.  They don't have to prove themselves.  They are already worthy.

--As we light our Halloween candles tonight, let us think about the ways we can be light to the world.  Let us concentrate on the ways we can chase away the gathering gloom.

--As we give out candy, let us give a silent benediction to each trick-or-treater:  "May your days be sweet and your life be sweeter."

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