Dear Wellspring ohana,
Another Halloween came and went this week. All week long I watched the Stringer family candy stash grow as our children collected treats from classmates and friends.
And on Wednesday evening, as the parade of laughing and chatting costumed kids and adults surged by to receive the hospitality of strangers, I saw one of the gifts of Halloween.
Now Halloween’s not my favorite holiday. I grew up in a conservative Christian subculture that saw it as a Satanic holiday, something to be avoided at all costs. And honestly, some of the trappings of Halloween are pretty gruesome, not in keeping with the spirit of Philippians where the apostle Paul encourages us to think about things that are lovely, excellent, and admirable.
But Halloween does have a gift for us, especially for those of us in the church (like me) who wish we could just skip the whole thing next year. It reminds us that there is hospitality, humor, joy, and togetherness that occurs when people let down their guard, practice generosity, and open their homes to each other. In the face of very real evil that exists -- and I’m not talking about scary decorations or costumes, but instead the evil that lurks in human hearts and on systemic levels -- there is something else stronger still.
In the face of hostility, when political conversations are polarized and charged with blame, we can practice hospitality and openness to each other.
In the presence of fear and uncertainty, whether you’re worried about the stock market or about a math test coming up on Friday, we can choose to participate in and encourage moments of joy and laughter.
In the presence of the evils of racism, sexism, and elitism, we can practice deep and rejuvenating friendships with people who bring life and healing into our lives, even as we work to be a community guided by God’s principles of justice and equity.
At its best, Halloween reminds us to not give up hope, to reach out to each other, and trust that something sweet will come along. This reminds me of the good news of Jesus’ gospel, which is that God’s good always wins out over the bad, the treat over the trick, the sweet over the bitter, the empty tomb over the grave.