SCAPEGOAT HILL BAPTIST CHURCH NEWSLETTER – NOVEMBER 2022
As you receive this newsletter we will just have passed 31st October (Halloween) and 1st November (All Saints’ Day). Unless we have younger children, we may have been spared the ’trick & treat’ shenanigans of what is now thought of as just a bit of fun.
However, the roots are really not so funny. In the pagan Celtic world this was the last day of their year. This is the festival of Samhain. The boundary between the worlds of the living and the dead became blurred. On the night of October 31 it was believed that the ghosts of the dead returned to earth and interacted with people. The Druids would build sacred bonfires and people would wear costumes to ward off evil. Some horrible myths and legends come from this time.
As Christianity grew, as with other pagan festivals the leaders attempted to reframe this as a Christian Festival and moved it May 13th celebrating Saints and Martyrs. This didn’t stop the pagan rituals. Over the centuries the church renamed Samhain as All Hallows’ Eve (Halloween or All Souls’ Day) and November 1st became and remains All Saints’ Day.
Because many people with a Celtic background emigrated to America, they took some of the old ways with them. Unfortunately they exported the whole ‘Trick or Treat’ activity back to the UK where it has become a growing commercial enterprise. So what? Well, God speaks quite clearly in Deut 18:10-12 “There shall not be found among you anyone who makes his son or his daughter pass through the fire, or one who practices witchcraft, or a soothsayer, or one who interprets omens, or a sorcerer, or one who conjures spells, or a medium, or a spiritist, or one who calls up the dead.” So, are my thoughts over-the-top? It’s only a bit of fun – but the roots of something determine the kind of fruit it will bear. And that is a truth we can’t get away from. Back in the late 1980’s Caroline was in the Guides and she explained that it was wrong for Guides to be involved in any Halloween activities. She was listened to and it didn’t happen. Last week, Val’s granddaughter came out of school and said “we don’t believe in Halloween, do we Nana?” This precious little 8 year old had spoken to her teacher and had herself, Oscar, Noah and little Isla granted permission to be doing another activity elsewhere in the school and not be involved in anything Halloween-ish. Well done our little Phoebe!
Traditions, legends etc can be intriguing and interesting, but we truly do need to have a jolly good look at what we’re eating before we digest it. And, it probably goes without saying, but there are a lot of traditions and legends coming up within the next couple of months that also have no basis in God’s Word to us. When it comes to the word of God we can rest assured it is 100% pure and trustworthy. His promises are like a shield in which we can take refuge. The reliability of God’s word is based on His character which is perfect, unchanging, pure and eternal. In a world that can seem to move SO quickly isn’t it a relief to know our God remains the same.
With Christian love, Liz