It’s All Saints Day today which is also known as All Hallows' Day, hence, October 31st is Hallows' Eve aka Halloween. While some churches weirdly react to Halloween as some devilish cultural attack on Christianity, Halloween and the adjacent days are a part of Christian history, and mostly a healthy part.
As my Episcopal clergy colleague Rev. Hunt Priest notes, “The three “holy days” of autumn--All Hallows' Eve, All Saints’ (Hallows’) Day and All Souls’ Day (also called “Day of the Dead”)--are invitations to spiritual practice around death, fear, and remembering those we love but no longer see. These three days offer an invitation for us to come face to face with death (Oct 31), to remember the giants of the faith (Nov 1), and to re-collect the great cloud of witnesses in our own lives (Nov 2).”
While I’m usually not a big Halloween guy, I do recognize the importance of directing our attention where our culture and often our faith do not: dealing with death and loss as well as fear, and honoring the lineage of life. This annual “thinning of the veil” where death and the presence of those who have gone before is an opportune time to honor our ancestors and our ancestors of faith.
And it can be an enriching and healing time for the soul.
My mentors and teachers have helped me to understand the deep power of lineage and our relationship to it. In my journey and in helping others over the years, I have seen frequently a loss of life energy and liberation because of unhealed wounds, judgments, and blocks in the lineage of people. A healthy relationship of acceptance and sovereignty in relation to one’s lineage can offer a liberation and an empowerment in one’s life.
I will preach on Lineage and Soul this Sunday, but in the meantime, you can do your own imaginative experiment. I encourage you to stand up for this (or, if need be, imagine yourself standing). Imagine your parents standing behind you, mother on the left and father on the right. (If you’ve been adopted, place your birth parents there as well as those who raised you.) See how that feels. Imagine leaning back into them. Any resistance? Any negative blocks? Note what you feel. Now imagine the next generation standing similarly behind your parents. And so on and so on until there is a massive pyramid of people.
How each one of us relates to this image says a lot about our soul’s journey. We can bring the resources of faith to engage with our lineage. I’ll talk more about that on Sunday.
Until then, let yourself be enriched by the image and presence of all those ancestors and saints who have gone before and helped bring life to this moment.
What saints are standing behind you and behind Plymouth Church?