Celebrating the Saints and All Hallows Eve Explained
October 25 - November 7, 2020 Whitfield Spirit Newsletter Article by Rev. Kathy Fisher
I love that the air is getting a little cooler now as we move into the fall season. The pumpkins and all of our autumnal decorations are getting dusted off and put into place, even as we ponder whether or not to stock our homes with candy in expectation of costumed trick or treaters showing up at our doors. And if they don’t come, what will we do with all of that candy?! *Wink, wink*
Many people really don’t know where the idea of Halloween originated and think of it only as a pagan celebration; however, that is not the whole truth. Halloween has its roots in the ancient, pre-Christian Celtic festival of Samhain, which was celebrated on the night of October 31, 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 and the day was called All Hallows Day, or as we know it, All Saints Day. So, the day before became All Hallows Eve or All Halloween. All Hallows Eve (Halloween) was celebrated in Catholic tradition by baking “soul cakes” for the dead in purgatory and going door to door collecting those soul cakes in exchange for praying for the dead, the precursor of trick-or-treating. Catholic tradition mixed with local pagan folk lore, and people believed that lost souls would wander the Earth until All Hallows Day. All Hallows Eve allowed them one last chance to do mischief to people they didn’t like; this led to people wearing costumes to disguise themselves from the evil spirits. Temporary lanterns made from pumpkins were lit, symbolizing both the lost souls and symbolically trying to lead spirits to the right place in order to haunt the right people.
On Sunday, November 1st, we will once again celebrate All Saints Day as we call the names of those saints from our congregation who have gone on to their great reward since last year’s celebration. It a wonderful, holy time of coming together to heed and hear the call of our Lord Jesus to join him in fields ripe for harvest. As we gather for the glory of God and seeking the expansion of God’s reign, we can recognize the need to not only announce the truth of God’s reign but to demonstrate it by embodying the values of God’s kingdom through peace, love, social justice and so much more! As we hear the cries of our cities and recognize the needs there, we can see where God is at work and come alongside to serve with joy and loyalty, sticking around for the long haul! Any gift we can offer others in the name of Jesus Christ is an offering of grace. As we seek to share God’s world of abundance and give freely to others, recognizing God’s Divine economy of abundance, we must always ask the question – does it help others to touch God’s grace? As we step out of our comfort zones and see the sacredness of all who stand before us, we can help them to also see the image of God in themselves so that we may all draw closer to our Lord.
As we prepare to celebrate those saints who have led the way for us, please let the office know if you have a loved one who has joined the other saints in heaven, since we last celebrated All Saints Day in November of 2019, so that we may call their name aloud in worship and light a candle in their memory.
Invite any and all you know to come join us as we praise God each Sunday in worship. I look forward to gathering with you all as we celebrate the work our Lord has done through us, and those saints who have gone before us, as we proclaim that our God reigns!!
Grace and Love,