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Yes, we’ve just had that time of year when terrifying faces come to the door… and that’s just the people who bothered to answer!
Halloween has grown in the UK, both in popularity and commercially over the past few years. Facemasks, costumes, lanterns and sweets are all sold and bought in increasing quantities. But where did Halloween originate? It stands for All Hallows E[v]en (evening) and stems from ancient pagan practices with some Celtic influences added for good measure.
But perhaps its time to take a look beneath the mask at the person underneath.
The word “hallow” is a little old-fashioned but it simply means to make holy or dedicate. Some of you may remember the opening words to The Lord’s Prayer, “Our Father who art in heaven, Hallowed be thy Name…” Here Jesus was teaching that God’s Name was holy, something to be honoured and revered.
It’s tempting to think therefore that holiness is beyond our reach; the realm of the divine rather than anything that mere mortals can achieve. But nothing could be further from the truth. In fact God says that he wants true believers to be holy just like Him. So how do we make that transition? How do we go from ordinary, everyday folk to become holy and sacred?
Surprisingly the answer is not through some mystical ritual or by following a complex religious process. Holiness is a state of mind supported by corresponding behaviour. In simple terms, holiness is about being separate for God. It starts by choosing to be different, by expanding our thinking to consider the needs of others, by being genuine.
I suspect that for the rest of the year we all like to wear a different mask, one of respectability. But below the surface is the real us. And it is that soul, that life that God wants to transform and change to be holy just like Him.
Useful passage to look up: 1 Peter ch1 vs15-16
Photo by David Menidrey on Unsplash