Sunday, October 31, 2010

reclaiming Halloween

I went to church today--a great service, good music, friendly folk--but not one mention that it was Halloween...the very Day!

I take that back, UNICEF boxes were available to collect money while trick or treating.

The church needs to reclaim Halloween (All Hallows Eve) and celebrate it liturgically like the Christian Holiday it truly is.

Perhaps we used to go over the top at St. John's--bloody foot prints up the altar steps, huge spiders above the pulpit, the celebrant wearing a witches hat, people (not just kids) in costume, acting out the Witch of Endor story--once with a smoke machine for the ghost....Maybe a little much for lots of folks. (We even had a solo of "Werewolves of London" at 8 o'clock!)

But it is the Eve of All Saints Day--a major Feast--we do Easter eve, Christmas Eve...why not for All Saints?

The belief was in certain people (especially the Celts) that on the Eve of All Hallows things were very "thin". The veil between this world and the next was so thin you could pass through. So the saints (meaning all dead Christians, not just the well-known) came to visit and needed to be welcomed and given hospitality. Not to do so would insult the Dead.

It should be an opportunity to remind ourselves that 'the saints' are around us always and deserve hospitality. Remember the advice from the Bible about welcoming strangers lest we entertain angels unawares.

It's too great a day to leave to the culture to commercialize and ruin.


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some ponderings by an aging white man who is an Episcopal priest in Connecticut. Now retired but still working and still wondering what it all means...all of it.