October 31

Matthew 5:1-5

“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” vs. 3

It’s likely that tonight’s Halloween observances will be curtailed or at least changed because of pandemic concerns. Still, we can be certain that creative parents will be promoting alternative celebrations in their neighborhoods, parades for costumed children perhaps, featuring sidewalk and driveway physical distancing, and a safe distribution of candy. Halloween is too big a deal in our culture–and ways will be found to celebrate. It might even be that this year folks will take some time to consider the roots of All Saints Eve, or All-Hallows Eve, as some call it. It’s been around for centuries in the Church, and its origins go back to ancient times. Always it’s been a time to reflect on that mysterious boundary between the living and the dead. For pagans it was that night when the dead roamed the earth, sometimes in disguise or playing tricks, or maybe to just offer a fright or two. For Christians it was a time to remember the Saints and light candles to honor their lives. Some even believed that a visit to their relics on this day brought special blessings, perhaps a reduction in purgatory penalties. In 1517 Martin Luther intentionally countered that view by nailing his 95 Theses on the Wittenberg church door. At its core this is a day not for mourning the dead, but for celebrating the new life they have in Christ. They are resting from their labors, and they have been blessed with peace.

Thought for the Day: What has Halloween meant to me?

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