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Archive for October, 2014

An Invitation to Prayer

Dear Kindred in the Spirit,

This is an invitation to prayer …. not a prayer that we won’t be overcome by the demonic culture of Halloween (please, it’s one of my favorite holidays). Not a prayer to convert those anti-Halloween folks to my way of thinking. . .
more like a prayer for safety, for kids crossing nighttime streets,
a prayer for communities welcoming kids from other neighborhoods,
a prayer for restrained consumption of treats at one time,
a prayer that I won’t run out of candy (actually I’ve been known to give out spider rings, and jack-o-lantern pencils, temporary tattoos, as well as popcorn balls and raisins–I let the kids choose and yes, they do choose things other than candy sometimes!)

Last night when I was talking with my mom on the phone, she was remembering how much fun it was to be one of those neighborhoods that received kids from all over the city–that we lived in a place of safety and welcome where other parents wanted their kids to be. And for one night in Texas, our neighborhood looked like a rainbow of many colors– or the blessed diversity of God’s creation, or body of Christ if you prefer. So I pray for those communities generous and safe enough to welcome those from elsewhere and pray for those communities who do not have such safety and community spirit. My mom is sad that in her retirement community they have “outlawed” trick-or-treating. She has to go to the mall to get her fix of kids in fantasy or ghoulish fashion.

I remember living in Atlanta, as a childless couple, how much fun Halloween was to receive all those kids, or to decorate Halloween cookies with my godchildren (I still have those bat-shaped cookie cutters). Neighbors used Halloween as an opportunity catch up…. sitting together in lawn chairs on the front lawn of whatever house had the most decorations, big bowls of candy on our laps (we used to pray it would be cool enough so the kids were able to wear their masks).

I remember growing up in Denton, how my godmother across the street would make popcorn balls for the occasion–best treat on the block. I still long for those gooey, sticky, fresh popcorn treats! She taught me how to make them but then who would trust a home-made treat these days?

There’s an interesting article on the community aspect of Halloween from Omid Safi, a Muslim contributor on Krista Tippett’s blog: “On Being” on Halloween

I love the fact that this is the one day of the year in many neighborhoods where people open their doors and receive one another as what we can be all along:¬†neighbors. And how I wish we would live like this every day, like a real community.¬†And I wonder what it says about us when we feel comfortable going up to our neighbors only when we are wearing masks….

Community does not descend down from Heaven. We have to shape community each and every day here and now. And somehow, for a few hours on Halloween night, we shape community.

So here’s a prayer from Jan Richardson for one of my favorite times of year–All Hallows Eve and All Saints Day when we remember the souls of our dearly departed and name their names and light candles as a sign of hope and presence flickering amidst the long shadows of grief left after someone dies. May this time, when the veil between this world and the next is so thin, speak to us of mystery and magic and community and call us to pray for those places who cannot enjoy these blessings.

Shalom, Pastor Kelly
p.s. Our text this Sunday is 2 Kings 5:1-14 and our theme in the Enough series is “Overcoming Fear”

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