If you were in church yesterday, you witnessed something that for me was kind of weird, but by the feedback after church, most of you found really funny. Let me start at the beginning of the story. For those you who don’t know, we had “The Joe Show” as our morning worship service yesterday. It’s a family friendly Christian show that replaced our morning worship service. Anyway, before the service, Joe asked if anyone wanted to “volunteer” to be part of the show. Right away, everyone pointed at me. I tried to get Nathan to do it, but he said he wasn’t feeling well (right!). I argued that it wasn’t in my job description, but nobody was buying it. Little did I know what was in store. Right in front of everyone, I got turned into a puppet superhero—some kind of Ninja guy. Joe dressed me up in various ways and then put a device over my mouth such that people couldn’t see my mouth, but only the lip movements he created. My job was to play along with the skit. And, obediently I did. And everyone laughed. As this was all taking place, I was thinking, this is a bad idea. I mean, growing up, my parents always told me, “Don’t be anyone puppet. Be your own man.” So apparently, I’ve now violated that bit of parental advice. On top of that, I’m fairly sure the videos created yesterday morning are going to haunt me for a long time. In fact, part of the reason I’m writing this is that when those of you who weren’t in church yesterday see the video, you don’t think I’ve lost my mind. And then there is the Biblical issue. I’ve always tried to be a Malachi 2:6 kind of leader. In this passage it says: “True instruction was in his mouth and nothing false was found on his lips.” So, I guess that’s out the window now too. So, I hope you are all very, very happy.
Hey, here’s something you might not know about Halloween. It actually has Christian roots. It commemorates those who have courageously stood for the truth in spite of persecution and opposition. In the early church, many people suffered and even died for their faith. And eventually, there were so many of these people—so many stories of courage that the church decided to put aside a particular day to commemorate all these saints, calling it All Saints Day. Originally, it was in May, but in 741 AD, the church moved it to November 1st in order to counter act the growing popularity of another festival called Samhain. This they had done before with both Christmas and Easter. The night before All Saints Day was called, “the eve of the hallowed ones”, which changed in time to Halloween. So, in reality, the name and the night were originally intended to celebrate heroes of the Christian faith. So, what happened you ask---where did all the dark imagery that we associate with Halloween today come from? Well, over the centuries, a variety of different cultural influences, not the least of which were the commercial interests of those who sell candy and distribute media, have impacted how we celebrate Halloween. So, this Wednesday night, tell your kids the true story of Halloween, dress them up as superheroes and celebrate both “the eve of the hallowed ones” AND the gift of candy and community from the HALLOWED ONE.