Posted by Rev. Daniel Christian on October 28, 2017
Halloween is around the corner. I am going as a vampire, the same one as last year, and now our daughter wants to be a vampire too. She has a not so subtle hope that all of us will go as a vampire family. I think this is a great idea! My wife, not so much. She is going to go as a cat, complete with cute little ears, tail, whiskers and nose. She was clear that she is not going as Cat Woman or a dominatrix cat. I wasn’t thinking about either of those costume choices, but truth be told, I couldn’t get that image out of my mind once she planted it there.
With Halloween fun all around us, we can also experience this season in a deeper and unique way. I am serious here! You can be in costume or not, the choice is yours.
All Saints’ Day is Nov. 1 and marks the Christian calendar as a day that we remember the loved ones in our lives who are no longer with us. We pray prayers of gratitude, lament, acceptance and healing. All Saints’ Day allows us to look back at these relationships and honor them with love, generosity and honesty. Taking this time to look back helps us see where God’s grace was present in our lives. We are not individual islands cut off from one another. We are connected to those who have gone before us.
All Saints’ Day acknowledges from deep within us the saints of God in our life. Our sisters, brothers, spouses, partners, parents, relatives, friends and colleagues in the faith who are no longer alive in flesh, and yet we acknowledge and remain connected in spirit.In the last six months my dear friends David, Sharon and Jeff all died suddenly and swiftly of disease. My wife has lost her aunt Pat, her uncle John and her uncle Bill is now in hospice care. She is back east making funeral plans as I write.
I share this because remembering and honoring those who have gone before us is important. It is how we express the depth of these relationships, and the influence they had in the shaping of our lives.
This is something we do many times over in grief and remembrance. It doesn’t end after the funeral service. It many ways this is when it all begins. We do this over the days, months and years ahead. This is what the road of grief and goodbye looks like. We can walk this road knowing that we are not alone. We are bonded with our friends, neighbors and strangers.
This Sunday at Ukiah Presbyterian Church we are having a special All Souls Day service at 10 a.m. that invites those to remember and pray for those who are not with us anymore.
In its own way I have always loved this service. It makes me experience the fun and joy of Halloween; but also allows me to have a shared experience with others as we all live the joys and sorrows of our lives.
So this Halloween, if you are dressed as a vampire, cat, superhero or hobo, or maybe you decide to just keep your regular clothes and watch the World Series, take some time to remember and thank God for the gift of the lives who have gone before us. Have a blessed week.
Rev. Daniel Christian is the Pastor at First Presbyterian Church of Ukiah
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