Halloween (all Hallows Eve), All Saints Day (Nov 1) and All Souls Day (Nov 2) offer a unique chance to wonder about all those who God has created – those we see around us and those who have gone before us.
In terms of Church observance our current insistence on reveling in the frightening and the evil has little to do with All Hallows Eve, the night before All Saints Day. The old English word “hallow” means to make holy (as in “hallowed be thy name”) – the Latin word “sanctus” also means holy and this is where the word “saint” comes from. So we spend these days celebrating those whose lives have been touched and filled by God and those whom we touch and see no longer.
In the Nicene Creed, which we recite each Sunday, we celebrate God who creates all that is, seen and unseen. There is more to our Christian lives than we can see or hold on to. All Saints Day reminds us that our lives are shot through will God’s mystery and that that mystery changes and transforms us. We have those names “Saints” whose lives we remember as being especially marked by a close journey to Christ and we remember those who have surrounded our own journeys.
In all of this there is hope. A hope which defies the odds of humanity because it is a hope borne of the free gift of love from God. We are those who walk with Christ, talk with Christ and are changed into Christ’s image day by day. We are those who are promised an eternal union with Christ, with saints and angels and all the company of heaven, who forever sing, “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts, the whole earth is full of God’s glory” (Is 6:3).