Today is Halloween, or “All Hallows’ Eve”. Most places I have been, Halloween is little more than an excuse to dress up in custom and, depending on one’s age, either ‘trick or treat’ or party. While Halloween may well have some pagan origins, and without a doubt includes many non-Christian elements today, I find it interesting that it is calendared to be on the evening of All Hallows’, or All Saints’ Day, a date of some significance to many Christian traditions.
All Saints’ Day is celebrated by many Christian traditions, both in the East and the West, to remember the saints who have gone on before us, and the legacy they have left us. For some, like the Roman Catholics, the saints are just a subset of believers, while for others all true believers are saints. And, for the later, All Saints’ Day would be a day to remember all of those who have gone before us, whether they are renowned hero’s of the faith, or the faithful servant who followed Christ in obscurity.
I do not know why we Baptists seem generally to ignore All Saints’ Day, but I believe it could be a wonderful time of celebration. Let’s remember the great cloud of witnesses that surround us (Hebrews 12:1) from throughout history. What a wonderful time to learn about our forebears in the faith and be challenged to follow in their footsteps. And what a good time to remember our loved ones who have been faithful and have joined that cloud of witnesses.
While it is likely too late for your church to remember, and celebrate, those who have gone before us; it is not too late for you to do it individually. It is also not to late to encourage your local church body to consider adding this day to their calendar, taking the time to remember the saints, and what they have given to us.