Huge spiders and webs, cartoon ghosts and grave stones, jack-o-lanterns and an occasional zombie decorate several homes in my neighborhood, and perhaps yours as well. Halloween has become a significant “holiday”, at least for retailers.
The name for this holiday comes from a contraction of All Hallows Eve, the night before a day when the church celebrates the lives of significant people of faith, people we deem as hallowed, or saints. Thus the day after Halloween is All Saints Day.
While we use Halloween to laugh at what we might fear, All Saints Day reminds us of people who inspire us to greatness especially during those times of fear. Those thin times when we can still feel those who have gone before us as if they might be standing next to us.
My father still inspires me to reconsider my sermons before and after Sunday mornings. I recall him listening critically to sermons and a few minutes later telling our pastor what he liked and what else the sermon might have considered. Years later, after he had retired and moved to a different community, he would send me pieces from that church’s newsletter annotated with his comments.
Who has inspired you to greatness? How might you honor their life this All Saints Day?
Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight and the sin that clings so closely,* and let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us, — Hebrews 12:1 (NRSV)