Monday evening, we will all witness, reflect upon or be transported into the “cuteness” and “semi-scary” culture of the time for “…ghoulies and ghosties and long-leggedy beasties and things that go bump in the night..” which we call “Halloween.” But I am not going to give the usual sermon about how this was (and is) “All Hallows’ Eve” and of a former time when (at least in theory) Christian civilizations would honor and mark the celebration of all its men and women of extraordinary holiness and virtue – those we call “saints.”
Now in the autumn of my own life (to quote the great Chairman of the Board – and if you know not who he was, I feel your pain!), this time of the year fills me with hope and challenge. For sure, it is a time to mark the passing of summer and its warmth and life. For some of us who lost parents this year, the dying of nature simply and symbolically manifests a loss we feel.
For clergy, now begins the time to remind our communities of the need for the Stewardship drive that must begin so that we can meet our ministerial and administrative responsibilities next year. It is the time when some of us mentally speed by the month of November and dwell on preparing for Christmas liturgies, upcoming fundraisers, final exams for students at the seminary, keeping the attention and enthusiasm of our high school confirmation teens, maintaining vestry enthusiasm – always pointing to our future.
Halloween for me is one of those markers of time where I take a moment and reflect: OK so what have I been doing, and what needs to yet be done, and am I using the time which the Lord has given us – because this time passes so quickly. As each leaf is seen falling from its summer’s perch, ask yourselves: what have I been doing with my time this year, and what yet needs to be done, and am I doing what Christ has commissioned me to do?