Friday, October 31, 2008

Halloween? Reformation Day? What to celebrate today?

Contrary to what I may have told you before, I am pleased to report that Halloween is NOT #2 on the holiday spending charts. (read snopes.com article for sources)

How should we think about Halloween? Albert Mohler offers parents many helpful thoughts here.

Did you know that on October 31, 1517 Martin Luther nailed his 95 theses to the door of the Wittenburg church? That was the day before "All Saints Day", also known as "All Hallow's Eve".

And let's not forget that many of our Roman Catholic friends still celebrate All Saints Day. (don't miss the cute photo below...)

Still other groups of Christians have a tradition of hosting "Reformation Day" parties on October 31st. This guy is dressed up as the guy you were supposed to avoid in Luther's day: John Tetzel. He went around selling "indulgences" which were pieces of paper that said your sins were forgiven. Yep, you could pay your hard earned coins to BUY God's forgiveness. Sound kind of twisted to you? Good! Martin Luther thought so too and this was one of the things he spoke against in his 95 theses. Of course you can't BUY God's forgiveness, but many people in Luther's time thought they could and spent a lot of money buying "indulgences" from sleezy dudes like John Tetzel.

But even I have to admit, hosting a Reformation Day party might be a bit geeky and be misunderstood in our culture.

While reading Revelation 19 this morning, I noticed that even Jesus wears a costume:

"11 Then I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse! The one sitting on it is called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he judges and makes war. 12 His eyes are like a flame of fire, and on his head are many diadems, and he has a name written that no one knows but himself. 13 He is clothed in a robe dipped in [4] blood, and the name by which he is called is The Word of God. 14 And the armies of heaven, arrayed in fine linen, white and pure, were following him on white horses. 15 From his mouth comes a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations, and he will rule them with a rod of iron. He will tread the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God the Almighty. 16 On his robe and on his thigh he has a name written, King of kings and Lord of lords." (Revelation 19:11-16, ESV)

Rather than celebrate the darkness tonight, let's celebrate the Bible's vision of Jesus. He's certainly not the effiminate, marginalized Gallilean peasant that many often imagine him to be. He is the King of Kings and Lord of Lords!

And if we find ourselves fighting dark thoughts and temptations tonight, let's remember these words from Martin Luther: "The best way to drive out the devil, if he will not yield to texts of Scripture, is to jeer and flout him for he cannot bear scorn."

Ha-Ha, Devil! Our Jesus is Lord!

1 comment:

adrian campbell said...

Thank you for such an insightful view of Halloween! It was VERY helpful to me! I'll share it with my sister, as she also struggles with what to do with this "holiday".