Waynedale United Methodist Church
Wednesday, June 19, 2013
We exist to experience God's love and to share it with everyone we meet
All Hallow's Eve
Halloween is the night before the day on which we remember and celebrate all the people who have been bright reflectors of God.
To be a 'saint' originally did not involve a vote. Anyone and everyone "in Christ", who followed Christ in a murky world, tended to stand out. These were the people who had learned to translate 'Jesus is Lord' into actions which the world could see and understand. This is what it meant to follow Jesus.
At first, each saintly role model was remembered on his/her own day, but as the list of witnesses grew, an annual celebration was held to include all saints.
A second celebration developed and was held the night before All Hallow's (Saints) day. It was held on Hallow's Eve, or Halloween. Possibly quasi-religious in its oldest form, it lost its connection to faith and descended into superstition and entertainment.
Which brings us to zombies. Everywhere . . . zombies. Zombie walks, zombie runs . . . zombie dances . . and zombie movies. The Night of the Living Dead!
Sometimes I am surprised by what an appropriate metaphor this is. It seems to awaken fears in even non-believers in zombies. Zombies are those who have died to the real world but now live on as creatures who suffer from the need to drag others into their grave concept of a deadly life or a living death. Either way, it's no picnic.
They feel the need to feed on the lifeforce that unwary innocents possess. And this ongoing addiction is for what they will forever lack. While the limb-dropping z's of the movies are fictional, we do see parasitic people who feed off the emotional and spiritual lives of those around them. The damage done, they move on to another victim.
This is where we continue to need saints who will demonstrate in their own lives where life truly originates for us - in Jesus. The truth is, most of us have died in our lives, from sin and lousy living (nothing to do with veggies and exercise but everything to do with who we turn to for reality checks). Saints remind us that it's not being a real good person, but a person who is a real good follower of Jesus, which will give us life. Jesus said that He came to give us life, and life abundant. What does that mean to you? How do you glorify/magnify/reflect God to the rest of the world? It happens when we make a daily commitment to follow. No matter how we feel. No matter whether the day is gray or bluesky. No matter if everyone else in the world is being idiots that day. We have to choose whether we accept the life Jesus offers, or do we chase eternally the life we see in others?
It begins by inviting Jesus in. It continues as we do that everyday. Then, someday, we make the decision to stay connected to Him all the time. Balancing out who we have been and who He makes it possible to become, follows. In other words: confession about our deadly lives, asking for the kind of living forgiveness which He offers, accepting that He has what we really need, and the commitment to stay with Him, all the time.
In the Bible, in the gospel of John, Jesus talks a lot about life: ". . . whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life." "I am the way, the truth and the life".
Do we ever get any promises out of the zombies other than "mmmnnnnrhhhpphtt"?
It's time for all you saints to shine a little brighter, and teach the world about real life.
It is our responsibility to go up against the life-sucking forces of this world. The good news is that we do it by the power of God's Holy Spirit. Probably not the sort of thing we'll see in any movie but it is real, and you can help save lives. Celebrate the saints around you. Thank God for all those role models, especially the ones who have died and are with God already.
Remember, someday people will be looking back at you that way. So follow Jesus all the way to life!
Talk to you soon. Mike