Thursday, October 31, 2013

Remembering The Dead

As I write this blog, many are preparing for this evening to take their children around and participate in the candy feast that is Halloween. Of course, many of our celebrations are a result of pagan holidays being "taken over" by Christians. The birth of our savior is celebrated on the winter equinox. Easter falls during a time when pagans celebrated spring and new life. Halloween, being no different, was a pagan celebration of the fall harvest that Christians took over and called it All Hallows Eve dedicating the time to remember the saints(hallows) and all those brothers and sisters in Christ who have passed.

Christians have reacted differently to this particular holiday. While most Christians seem to have no problem that Christmas and Easter fall on the backs of ancient pagan celebrations, the reaction to Halloween has been more pronounced. Some participating in "trunk or treat" events, while others have boycotted the holiday in its entirety. The question is one that is often debated in theological circles. What is the Christian approach to culture?  Do we fight against culture by creating our own Christian ghettos that we hope will be more attractive than the world? Do we give in completely and just participate in the culture that we find ourselves in? Do we transform culture as the Christians did in the past, embracing these pagan dates and giving them a deeper Christian meaning?

As we seek to become more missional, also consider what kind of opportunity these cultural activities present. If you were a missionary to India, would you lock yourself indoors during the festival of colors?YOU ARE A MISSIONARY! How can you use these natural cultural moments to make relationships? Just as a missionary pays special attention to the rhythms of their communities, so also must we. I encourage you to consider how God may be calling you to go, to your own neighborhoods to see His kingdom come to every area of life, even fall, even Halloween.