Make choices that reflect your faith
The Rev. Robert Leiste, pastor, Redeemer Lutheran Church, 2700 Lawrence Ave.:
Is Halloween a celebration of the heathens, or is it simply a culturally accepted time when parents not only allow their children to take candy from strangers but actually bring them to their houses to get it?
Good Christian people will say it is occult, so people of the faith should not partake and even have alternative parties for children to attend. Other sincere members of the faith who have divorced Halloween from any devilishness connection say yes and will even have “trunk or treat parties” in their church’s parking lot for the neighborhoods to gather in as an outreach tool.
As a rule of the faith, I see this as an area of Christian liberty (see 1st Corinthians 8) where each person must decide according to their own conscience seeking to follow the biblical teaching of freedom and yet in a way as not to offend. Those who do take part have the responsibility of not giving the wrong impression and not being a stumbling block to those who disagree (my advice, watch the customs, making sure they are fairly benign). On the other side, if you feel it is wrong, then do not do it. Keep your lights shut off, don't take the kids out, and follow your own responsibility of not adding on to the word of God by making your decision apply to everyone else.
Good people of faith have disagreed about this issue like they have concerning reading “The Lord of the Rings” or the “Harry Potter” series. Perhaps the key is to understand that each side are people of the faith trying to live out their life of faith to the best and as always to the glory of God and should be treated as such.
— Send e-mail to Robert Leiste at email@example.com.
All Hallows Eve time for imagination
The Rev. Paul McLain, curate, Trinity Episcopal Church, 1011 Vt.:
An important element of faith is imagination. Halloween, or All Hallows Eve, is the eve of All Saints’ Day, Nov. 1, one of the holiest days in the calendar of the Episcopal and other churches. The Festival of All Saints is a time when we especially acknowledge our communion with the saints, the intercommunion of the living and the dead in the body of Christ that we proclaim in the Apostles’ Creed. It is a time when we use imagination to enter the courageous lives and deaths of persons who have contributed to God’s collective journey with and in us throughout the centuries.
The tradition of Halloween costumes, in which children and adults often dress up in the uniforms of various occupations, reminds me of an All Saints’ hymn that goes, “I sing a song of the saints of God ... and one was a doctor, and one was a queen, and one was a shepherdess on the green, ... and one was a soldier, and one was a priest, and one was slain by a fierce wild beast, ... for the saints of God are folk just like me, and I mean to be one, too.”
It is a whimsical, childlike imagination that enables us to travel through time and space to truly commune with the saints of long ago. All Saints’ and Halloween are a time to “try on” the bold witnesses of Peter and Paul, the encouragement of Barnabas, the courageous service of Stephen, the devoted tears of Mary Magdalene, and the obedience of Mary and Joseph. It is a time to imagine how taking on their identities can reshape our identities, expanding the ways we love God and love all God’s children. Who knows — we might just be saints, too!
— Send e-mail to Paul McLain at firstname.lastname@example.org.