Halloween is a yearly celebration observed in a number of countries on October 31, the eve of the Western Christian feast of All Hallows' Day. It initiates the time in the liturgical year dedicated to remembering the dead. The traditional focus of Halloween revolves around the theme of using humor and ridicule to confront the power of death.
Tonight, all over the country people will dress up like ghosts, goblins, zombies, werewolves, vampires and the like. These creatures do not exist. They are pure fiction.
It's interesting how the mind deals with the inevitable.
Yes, I'm going to dive straight into darkness for a (just one) paragraph.
I'm going to die. You're going to die. Everyone you know is going to die. Not a single person that you've ever heard of or read about can escape death. Death is a door, and one day you will walk through it. It is utterly terrifying for some. For others it is just accepted as an unavoidable part of being human.
The church, since its inception has always spoken to the topic of death. Why? Because it touches all of us. It is universal, and the thoughts we think about death, and the ways that we deal with it when we observe it are, like it or not, tied to thoughts of God and the afterlife.
That's the way it goes.
There's an interesting passage in the second chapter of Hebrews in the New Testament, that says this:
Maybe you are a classic zombie fan and prefer Romero's "Dawn of the Dead," or perhaps you prefer your zombies in more "comedic" environments like in "Shaun of The Dead." We all have at least one zombie genre that we feel "fits" us best. There are many to choose from. In all, there are 570 zombie films that have been made to date.
I think that this points to something in us that has to do with our thoughts about death. It gives us, like Halloween, a foreground of fiction to deal with our "non-fiction" thoughts of death and apocalypse that are always churning under the surface in us.
Scripture teaches us that because of Jesus we no longer need to fear death. What is unknown to us can be terrifying, for sure- but Jesus comes to calm our fears of the unknown and to assure us that what awaits us after our death is an "unavoidable mercy" of sorts.
For those of us that remain, and feel the pain of loss, this also reminds us that those who have passed on before us are not in torment but at rest. God loves people so completely, so infinitely, that death is a final "renewal" by which we are healed and restored, where our loved ones are waiting there just as we are here, to be joined again in a place without tears or pain where death is no more.
That may sound like fantasy, too. I understand that. But could that be true? What if it is? How would that change the way that you live now? Would looking at your life as more than just a deteriorating span of years change the way that you view yourself and others?
Could death be a "home-going" instead of a terror to be avoided?