Last night was good. As has become our annual tradition, we made a lot of food and bought a lot of candy. Good friends come over to help us eat and drink and pass out candy to thousands of kids that swarm our neighborhood. As always, it was delightful seeing all the tiny adorable kids in their tiny adorable costumes. There’s nothing that can melt your heart like a tiny, shy superhero hiding behind his mother. Before we moved to Dallas, we never had trick-or-treaters. Parents had given into fears of crime or, in many cases, that there was something evil about Halloween, replacing it with a Fall Festival or a Trunk-or-Treat in the parking lot of the local megachurch. It’s a shame, really.
Halloween is the first in a trio of days, Hallowtide, that confront death to bring new life. On All Hallows Eve (Halloween) we mock death so that, with the Apostle Paul, we can ask, “Where, O Death, is your victory? Where, O Death, is your sting?” We put on costumes and celebrate. Some costumes are frightening, but we know that under that gruesome mask is a child. Some costumes are expressions of a child’s dreams, that one day he or she will be a princess or a hero. Fear and hope, bound together in a parade of children.
Saturday is All Hallows Day, the day we venerate the saints, the hallows, of the tradition. As we have discussed in our series on saints, these people exemplify in their lives and legends who we might imagine ourselves to be as people of God. Of course, this often says more about the people canonizing a saint than the ones being canonized, so the stories of the saints are offered as stories we might like to tell about ourselves. To our local pantheon of saints this year we added five (well, six): Dorothy Day, Joe Strummer, Sergius and Bacchus, Teresa of Avila, and Molly Ivins. Each of these points us to the Way of life in God, whether through contemplation, a relentless pursuit of justice, or a broader view of what is possible. We honor the saints by telling their stories and trying to live into parts of those stories, so that we have our own to tell.
Hallowtide culminates in telling our own stories on All Souls Day. This is the day that we remember those we have lost. Contrary to modern common wisdom, we do not come into this world alone and we don’t leave it that way, either. We are brought into this world by those who have come before, by those who have built the world we have, for better or worse. Someday, we will leave this world, having made it better or worse, to those who come after. The world is finite and we are mortal, but everything is connected in God, so that every beginning is an end and every end a new beginning.
Please join us this Sunday, 11am at Kidd Springs Rec Center, as we remember those we have loved and lost. You are invited to bring photos, icons, or sentimental objects to place on the altar, to light a candle in remembrance, and to tell stories of the lives of those who have come before.
Grace & Peace,