From ghoulies and ghosties
And long-leggitie beasties
And things that go bump in the night,
Good Lord, deliver us!
This ancient Scottish prayer captures the spirit of Halloween or All Hallows eve, the eve of All Hallows or All Saints day. On All Saints Day we celebrate the saints of our lives. On the eve of all hallows day, we pray for protection from those ghoulies and ghosties and long leggitie beasties and things that go bump in the night.
The truth is that life is scary. Death and the threat of death is scary. There are plenty of things to be afraid of! This year, as we endure the fifth wave of the COVID pandemic, as homelessness is rising alarmingly around us, there seem to be more things to fear than ever. This seems like a perfect time to embrace the scariness of Halloween!
The wonderful thing about Halloween monsters is that they go away! Horror movies are strangely comforting because there are strict rules: Don’t go into the dark basement (especially in your underwear). If the haunted house tells you to leave, LEAVE! And never, ever, make out with someone in a haunted house (especially if you are a teenager). With so much to be afraid of that is real, it can be a relief to watch pretend monsters be defeated.
But COVID, racial injustices, political divides, gun violence, poverty, homelessness, healthcare that is out of reach, the real scary things in life, these do not go away. These do not behave according to a formula to be defeated by the end of the episode. For the real terrors of life, we need the hope that comes from Christ.
And that is exactly what we get on All Saints Day (which we will celebrate on November 7th this year) as we remember the saints of our lives who have passed on the faith of Christ. The faith they taught us and the example they set is that together, as sisters and brothers in Christ, we can face the ghoulies and ghosties and long leggitie beasties, and the real fears of this life too.
You are not alone. God loves you. We are in this together.