Thursday, October 31, 2013

A rainy Halloween

The feast of All Hallows Eve came wet this year. We never get a lot of Trick or Treaters but the kids in the neighborhood all came en mass tonight, then Bern left for her women's group and because we have the worst dog ever, she just left a box of candy with a sign saying "Treats" on the front porch so no one would knock on the door and get Bela in a tizzy of barking and snarling and jumping against the door.

I did get a call from our granddaughters. We buy their Halloween costumes each year. This year, Emma was a Greek Goddess, Morgan was a Southern Bell and Tegan was Cat Woman. Pretty much reflects a lot of their personalities. Emma, beautiful and unattainable: Morgan, demure and frilly; Tegan, an DC Action Heroine.

After I talked with them, hearing each in turn ask to speak to 'Gran'ma' and finding she wasn't here and then shortly drifting away with 'good-byes' and 'love yous', my son got on the phone. "Mom isn't there?" he asked.

"Thursday night--she's at Group--like every other Thursday night for 28 years or so," I said.

"Well, the girls got bored with you pretty quickly...." he said.

"As always," I said, not even sadly. Bern is the ideal grandmother for kids below 12--engaging, playful, knowing about what ticks inside kids. I'll take over when they get to 12. Those are the kids I'm good with. Not an accident that Bern was Co-ordinator of a pre-school and I was leader of Jr. High Camp. We connect with kids at different points.

Just hope I live 5 more years so Morgan and Emma will figure out how 'with it' I am, at last.

All Saints day is tomorrow. We'll celebrate it at Emmanuel in Killingworth on Sunday. It is my favorite liturgical holy day. Christmas is Christmas and I love it. Easter is a blur most of the time, but I love it too. But All Saints....That's a day to love.

So many conservative Christians object to Halloween (the Eve of the Feast of All Hallows--the early English term for "Saints" in "Hallowed be thy name...." Tomorrow is the Feast of the "holy ones'--which are, quite simply, 'all of us'. All Saints means ALL saints--including the saints still waking around and talkin', being the Body of Christ (the only Body Christ has now) in the world.

All Saints is 'our day'--yours and mine. The church celebrates it.

The funny thing is, all those Christians who think Halloween is about Satanism and heretical thinking, won't celebrate All Saints Day at all. They don't follow the Christian Calendar.

It's like Marti Gras in balanced out by Ash Wednesday...the goblins and ghosties and things that go bump in the night on Halloween are balanced out by All Saints. We liturgical churches just  have a way to justify 'nonsense' by pairing it with profound seriousness.

Today for Mexicans is "The Day of the Dead"--the one day each year the dead can 'go home'. So they make bread in the shape of a skull and crossbones and prepare food their late loved ones loved to welcome them home.

I like stuff like that--stuff that in Celtic thought, celebrates the "thin time", the time when the veil between this world and the next is thin and can be passed through. That's what Celtic Christians, who invented All Hallows Eve believed. On this night, the dead we love but see no more can walk again on earth and come to be welcomed with their favorite foods and sweets. And, if we've forgotten them and have no hospitality to offer, they may just do some mischief. And well they should.

A good thing, I think, to have a sense of the dead still among us from time to time. A good thing--the Communion of Saints acted out in costume.

Happy Halloween, by the way. 'Trick or Treat'.

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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.