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October 31, 2006

All Hallows Eve

The Church is at last starting to awaken to the fact that, if you want to convince people of faith in faith, you have to go out and meet them where they are and not where you think they should be. Tonight is All Hallows Eve - or Halloween as the Americans have it. The celebration is a paganisation of the medieval Christian concept of the Dead being allowed to revisit their familiar habitats for the one night of the year - a descent into a dualistic vision of nature which divides the sacred and the mundane. For those who have read the Da Vinci Code, a Gnostic concept manifesting itself in the medieval church and again today as we deal with people rushing about dressed as ghouls and ghosts.

This year the Bishop of Gloucester has decreed that we will make an effort to reclaim the celebration for Christianity. If people want to have a party for All Hallows, then let's have a Christian one! So he is leading a procession from one of the parish churches in Tewkesbury, replete with torches and festive spirit, to the Abbey where the young people taking part will join him in celebrating the Eucharist and then in a tour of the Christian understanding of All Hallows - an understanding that has nothing at all in common with pumpkins, dualism, witches, warlocks, demons or anything magical. I confess it is reassuring to see this happening and reading the rubrics for the event it is even more reassuring to see that great care is being taken to avoid the obvious pitfall of making the whole thing far too structured and far too stuffy. There is room for a lot of fun in our religion and its time we put it back.

As we celebrate the feasts of All Saints, All Souls and the lives of those who have gone before us into the light of Christ, let's put aside the mumbo-jumbo and remember with love and affection all those who have guided and shaped us in our walk through this life and into the next.

May the Saints of God pray for us all, now and at the hour of our death, that we may with them, rise in the fullness of the resurrection in, with and through Christ our saviour. Amen

Posted by The Gray Monk at October 31, 2006 02:43 PM

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