“Sing to the Lord, you saints of his;
praise God’s holy name.” (Psalm 30:4)
Halloween decorations have been up in the stores for quite some time now. We often forget how Halloween actually began. It is the eve of All Saints Day (or All Hallows) when Christians celebrate all the saints, known and unknown. In Medieval times people thought that the souls of those who were not at rest in Christ would be able to get to them on the eve of All Saints. So they would dress up in disguises and masks to hide their identities.
As with many celebrations, Halloween became commercialized and the original meaning was lost. Over time it became a time of fun for children with games and trick-or-treating.
Because the holiday has gotten so far from its origins, we have forgotten the meaning of All Saints Day in most of our protestant churches. However, in the United Church of Christ we believe that the word saints refers to all Christians. Therefore on All Saints Day we would celebrate the Church Universal and all the saints, living and dead, who have helped the church become what it is today.
This year, we’re planning an all church Halloween party, with games and food and a chance to laugh together. Some of you may not want to come because you don’t know what sort of costume to wear. What if we all came as saints of one sort or another? And if we took that definition above seriously, that could mean we might find all sorts of “costumes” in our closets because we are all saints!
Let’s celebrate together often, giving thanks for all our church ancestors. And let’s come together to celebrate as a church and reclaim the holiday of Halloween.