Wednesday, 30 October 2013

halloween


On Halloween we see children running around in costumes, and it seems like everywhere you turn you are confronted by skeletons and tombstones. Death, and all that is associated with its mysteriousness, is brought to our minds. We see caricatures of the dead in various forms- vampires, zombies, Frankenstein’s monster, ghosts, and skulls. Along with these ghouls come every creepy and crawly thing that might keep company with such creatures. It is a time when we are confronted with the mystery of death.
            However, this season is also playful. The skeletons dance. The monsters are cartoons. The coffins are full of candy, and the tombstones have comedic sayings like “Here lies the body of Jonathan Blake; Stepped on the gas instead of the brake”.
            Perhaps we laugh because we are uncomfortable. Perhaps we make the skeleton dance so that we don’t have to feel the loss of those we know and love who have died. Perhaps we fill the coffin with candy because we don’t want to recognize that we will someday fill it.
            In Revelation 7 we meet the dead, and they are drenched in blood. But, these are the faithful dead, not the reanimated zombified dead. And the blood that covers them is the blood of the Lamb, which purifies them and makes them clean.  These are the dead remembered and embraced by the Holy God. These dead are in eternal union with their Beloved; forever proclaiming their love to their Creator, Sustainer, and Sanctifier.
            These dead have faced the powers of the world, and in the world’s eyes they seem to have lost. They have fallen by sickness, by starvation, thirst, and by the various weapons of those who misuse the power given to them. But, these dead have not lost. They are the ones who have the true victory. The Lamb has now given them life that cannot be taken away by hunger, thirst, or any weapon. If anyone can make light of death- if anyone can smile at a skeleton- it is the saints of God, which includes you, by God’s grace.

DEATH be not proud, though some have called thee
Mighty and dreadfull, for, thou art not so,
For, those, whom thou think'st, thou dost overthrow,
Die not, poor death, nor yet canst thou kill me.

Thou art slave to Fate, Chance, kings, and desperate men,
And dost with poison, war, and sickness dwell,
And poppy, or charms can make us sleep as well,
And better then thy stroke; why swell'st thou then;
One short sleep past, we wake eternally,
And death shall be no more; death, thou shalt die.
 (John Donne- “death be not proud”)

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