Wednesday, October 23, 2019

The Connection between Halloween and The Church

Dear Friends,

A neighbor recently set out on the landing the cheerful pumpkin pictured above. The pumpkin glows in the darkness, shiny with some interior beauty. It's loveliness conveys itself to the viewer, offering memories of Halloweens gone by and the tenuous contemporary cultural connection of Halloween to the liturgical life of our church. Halloween stands as first in the trilogy "All Saints’ Eve/All Saints Day/the Day of the Dead.”  Let’s wander over these three days together in this blog.

Porches that welcome children who go tricks or treating often have a pumpkin prominently displayed, a funny, odd, sometimes scary face carved onto its bumpy surface. It’s a new interpretation for children when adults tell them that “Being a Christian is like being a pumpkin. God picks you from the patch, brings you in, and washes all of the dirt off of you. God opens you up and scoops out all the yucky stuff including the seeds of doubt, hate, greed etc. Then God carves you a new smiling face and puts his light inside you to shine for all the work to see.”

Ursula K. LeGuin, who died in 2018, wrote this in the last of her books of poetry, So Far So Good;
                                                                     All Saints All Souls
                                                         This is the day when the saints all go
           silently to church in France
                                                          And over the mountains of Mexico
    the bare bones dance.
                                                        Ghosts rise up from graveyard sleep
                                                          to follow the southward fleeting sun.
       It is the doomsday of the leaf
              and the feast day of the skeleton.

Personalize All Saints’ Day by making your own 10 saints to honor in the coming year: People whom you have known for many  years, or holy people you have only recently heard of. How will you recognize them? Here are some characteristics of Saints: 
  • They live common lives and do common things with uncommon generosity
  • Practice some restraint and courage
  • Take God more seriously and themselves less so
  • Care for others and treat them with dignity
  • Take hope by the hand and never let go.

Your ten saints acknowledged by the Church for their holiness (All Saints Day) or the ones whose truth you have known in your lifetime (All Saints Day 2, commonly known as All Souls Day) will be your friends this year in a new and hopefully lasting way...

Celebrate these three days with all to whom we belong in the communion of saints.

-Sister Joan Sobala