We have Halloween coming our way. It is sad that all religious connection has been lost. People only think of parties with costumes and children trick or treating. Even the churches which offer alternative options don’t usually talk about the origin of the holiday. It is fine to have fun with the day but we should not forget the connections with our faith. Here is the history of that day from History.com.
Halloween is an annual holiday celebrated each year on October 31, and Halloween 2019 occurs on Thursday, October 31. It originated with the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain, when people would light bonfires and wear costumes to ward off ghosts. In the eighth century, Pope Gregory III designated November 1 as a time to honor all saints; soon, All Saints Day incorporated some of the traditions of Samhain. The evening before was known as All Hallows Eve, and later Halloween. Over time, Halloween evolved into a day of activities like trick-or-treating, carving jack-o-lanterns, festive gatherings, donning costumes and eating sweet treats.
We all stumble in many ways. Anyone who is never at fault in what they say is perfect, able to keep their whole body in check. When we put bits into the mouths of horses to make them obey us, we can turn the whole animal. Or take ships as an example. Although they are so large and are driven by strong winds, they are steered by a very small rudder wherever the pilot wants to go. …
We are all human. We make mistakes. Not one of us is perfect. Always be ready to ask forgiveness for the things we do wrong and know that Christ has died to grant us forgiveness.
Philippians 4:8 [Full Chapter]
Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.
What do we spend our time thinking about? I’d be willing to bet that a lot of the time it does not fit the list above. Too often we are concerned about what someone else has done. We are quick to point out flaws in others. We can also concentrate on all the negative things instead of the positive.
Consider the good things. Remember the gifts that we have been given by God and praise him!
For we know the one who said, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay.” And again, “The Lord will judge his people.” It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.
Hebrews 10:30-31 NRSV
We all know people that we would love to have suffer for the wrongs that they have done. We would love to see evil befall them. However, God tells us that no matter how much we want to see them suffer it is not our place to take vengeance.
So many evils in this world come abut because of someone’s selfish, uncaring ways. People are hurt or seriously damaged and we can’t understand how they can get away with continuing to live that way and nothing happens. It seems that the good suffer and the evil thrive. How can God let this happen. That is one of the most difficult questions but part of the hope we see is here in these verses. It is definitely fearful to fall into the hands of the living God and have to answer for how we lived. Trust the Lord.
Prayer: Loving God, help us to trust you to render judgement. Remind us that is not our place but yours. We are called to forgive instead of seeking vengeance. Help us to follow in the ways of our Lord, Jesus Christ. AMEN
Happy are those who consider the poor;
the Lord delivers them in the day of trouble.
We don’t want to see the poor and needy. It disturbs us. Probably because we feel guilty about not doing something. We see homeless people on the streets and they are dirty, wear layers of clothing (have everything they own on their backs) and often smell bad. They are not pleasant to be around. They often beg for money and we generally assume that they will use the money for liquor or drugs. Hoe much we assume! I wonder if we would fee the same way if we knew their story.
Christ calls us to give out of our abundance. Maybe we think we don’t have much to give but by comparison we are very rich. The psalmist tells us that we will be happy if we help…that help will come to us in our time of need if we do. It reminds me of the saying “what goes around, comes around!” If we do nothing that could be a scary thought.
Prayer. God of the homeless and needy . Help us to not pass by when we encounter the poor. Le us see the incredible plenty that we have and inspire us to share. Remind us that we, also could be one of those in need but for your grace. AMEN
Romans 15:1-2 New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)
15 We who are strong ought to put up with the failings of the weak, and not to please ourselves. 2 Each of us must please our neighbor for the good purpose of building up the neighbor.
How often do we look down on others for something they can’t help. So many who suffer from mental illness are thought of as “less than.” They may be functioning members of society fighting their demons every day but that is something we can’t see. It is so easy to be judgmental. Never presume weakness. It may actually be enormous strength that we can’t see.
Ephesians 4:31-32 New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)
31 Put away from you all bitterness and wrath and anger and wrangling and slander, together with all malice, 32 and be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ has forgiven you.
This world needs this verse from Ephesians. Everyone seems so angry. So much division and hatred. It seems to me to every major religion in its pure form teaches peace, compassion and love. Put away your anger and bitterness and every day show your love for one another.
Mark 3:25 New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)
25 And if a house is divided against itself, that house will not be able to stand.
Unfortunately this seems to be the culture we live in. There is so much division that people can no longer hold a civil conversation. It is so frightening that the divisions are increasing. Years ago in the US there was another man who talked about standing together. We may not be able to do it again until we are invaded by aliens and we have to all join together to stay alive.
We so often want God to think the way we do. We are right and our view of justice should be done. We often think about an “eye for an eye” which actually tells us to not ask for more retribution than we are actually due. But God is not us and does not look at things the same ways we do.
As Isaiah says of God, “My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways my ways” (Isaiah 55:8). Yet I am afraid we often pull God down into “our thoughts.” We naively and erroneously think fear, anger, intimidation, threat, and punishment are going to lead people to love. Show me where that has worked. We cannot lead people to the highest level of motivation by teaching them the lowest. God always and forever models the highest—love—and our task is always to “imitate God” (Ephesians 5:1). From the meditation of Richard Rohr
God is love and love is always his answer.