I have never been one for promoting the spirituality of All Hallows’ Eve. I have done children’s liturgies before, but I always suspect that the lure of trick-or-treating is too strong to encourage people to fast on October 31st. As an adult, I have never been that into Halloween either. I never dress up or throw big parties. As a parent, I take the kids out, and we have candy to pass out at our home, but besides the promise of candy being around, I do not get too invested in the holiday.
But last night, something powerful clicked for me. We live in a neighborhood that is very easy to walk with kids, and our youngest is old enough that she is starting really enjoy door-to-door trick-or-treating. As we walked, I realized something new was happening. Everyone in the neighborhood was genuinely engaged. Adults made eye contact with one another, smiling and greeting with a heartiness I had not seen before. Older members of our neighborhood were delighting in the children, making connections over costumes and candy. Most of the time, I think of our neighborhood as being the place where we live. But last night, our neighborhood felt like a community: a community of people who care about each other, want to connect with each other, and are happy to share a little bit of joy in a sometimes very disappointing world.
Though our neighborhood was doing something entirely secular, there was something sacred about our interactions last night. Though we were not fasting for All Hallows’ Day, our honoring of each other was a way of preparing me for today’s feast day. Our connections last night made me realize how connected we are to the saints: people who seem totally unlike us, whose lives feel disconnected from our own, and yet, whose stories bring us comfort, encouragement, and assurance. The communion of saints makes us realize how much larger our “community” really is, and how full of goodness and hope it can be. If you are longing for that kind of connection to the saints, or even a connection to a modern community, I hope you will join us tonight as we celebrate All Saints Day. Come feast on the holy meal, share a good word, and look into the eyes of those who see you for what you are: a beautiful child of God to be honored and celebrated!