Tonight we will open the doors of the church to welcome people from our neighbourhood for an evening of fun, games, and fellowship.
Some of you may be wondering why we would even participate in something like Halloween, given the cultural connections to death, spirits, and evil. This is a valid question, and something we have wrestled with here at Fleetwood CRC.
It is important to recognise how there are some in our culture who use an evening like tonight to participate in rituals which are anything but holy and do not promote a life dedicated to God. There is plenty written about why Christians should or should not participate in any festivities around this night, and I would encourage you to do some research yourself. Always remember there are two sides to every story and reality is often not as simple as some would make it appear.
We should note however, the origins of Halloween are not as simple (or as dark as some would claim). While there is quite a bit of debate about where some of the other-wordly elements come from, the name "Halloween" is actually a derivation of "All Hallows Eve", the evening before "All Saints Day". All Saints Day, and the evening before, were celebrated by the Christian Church as early as the 800s AD. These feast days were designed to help the faithful reflect on the death of those who had gone before us, and to celebrate their victory over death.
The reason why we are having an event here at the church is to create an alternative to the way our culture celebrates this evening. We feel it is important to be able to be a light in the dark places, and felt that closing our doors on a night which often feels very dark is not a good way to do that. We are called to be a beacon that shows there is an alternative story to the one the world seems to be steeped in at the moment.
Far from being a celebration of death, as the current mode seems to be, Halloween gives us an opportunity to celebrate the life AFTER death which we are promised in Jesus. A time to point to the hope we have in the resurrection, and to provide the world with an alternative picture of what it looks like to accept the mortality of our current life.