As I subscribe to a number of blogs associated with Youth and Children’s Ministry, this time of year is filled with these usually evangelicals getting all hot under the collar about Halloween.
Brian Kirk’s usually excellent Rethinking Youth Ministry speaks of an organization based in Calgary is inviting churches to participate this month in “Jesus-ween,” an evangelistic alternative to Halloween. This is a new twist on the old practice of giving out those creepy (and scripturally inaccurate) Jack Chick tracts, intended to scare kids in an entirely different way on Halloween night when they start reading the little comic somebody dropped in their goodie bag:
I was invited a few years ago to speak on Halloween at a Youth Event which was just desperate to avoid the H-word, and a local Pentecostal Church goes all out to find attractive alternatives to Halloween. It’s all so binary, so fearful, so messed up and humourless and so far from the Gospel, even when dressed up in the language and attitudes of Spiritual Warfare – which it isn’t because believe me, real Spiritual Warfare is nothing like this play acting.
Have these Churches all missed the point? The point of Halloween? Hallow’s – E’en – the night before All Hallows or All Saints
I suppose the Churches who see demons under every bed and the Deceiver behind the casual cadging of sweets have lost the plot because they don’t want to have anything to do with the traditions of the Church, and yet didn’t the early church want to celebrate the Saints, and recognise the possibility of Sainthood (hagios) within us all (Ephesians 1:1). This is a classic indication of how we abandon Mother Church at our peril, for we forget what many many better Christians than ourselves have known, that the Saints in Glory (Revelation 7:13) are witnesses to the light which defeats any pretence at darkness and darkness is no threat to us, because of the Victory of Christ. It’s a no-brainer.
When the kids come knocking at my door and demanding “Trick or Treat”, I’m not going to turn them away, condemn them for their “satanic practices” (perish the thought, how twisted can these hot prots be?) or be any other form of killjoy (because the world seems to think that Christians can’t have a good time, which is precisely the opposite of what Christ taught us) but I will happily and gladly hand out the sweets and tell them that it is a gift in honour of All the Saints, whose feast comes in the morning: Taste and See that the Lord is good! (Psalm 34:8) and share the sweetness of the Lord with joy and not with fear, suspicion or seeing a harmless bit of fun as a manifestation of evil. Reclaim the night for the day of the Saints and show how light always defeats the dark with a little lightness in our tppuch,