Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Celebrating Community

Trick or Treating 2007

Image by twofivethreetwo via Flickr

The decision to participate in Halloween activities for many Christians can be a troublesome one. While I want to respect the variety of convictions that are represented among Christian believers, I have to agree with the following quote from an article entitled, Christians Should Reverse Their Thinking and Embrace Halloween Says Evangelical House Church Leader.

“Ken Eastburn, a leader within the house-church movement, thinks instead of resisting Halloween celebrations, Christians should embrace them, "Christians have every reason to take part in a holiday that brings communities together."

"There are not many days throughout the year where there is such widespread community engagement," comments Eastburn, "As Christians, we should embrace such opportunities to build community with our neighbors and show them the love of Christ in practical ways.”

Not to ‘toot my own horn’ but here is what we as a church are planning for this Friday in our community. For the 5th year in a row now we are hosting our Halloween Safety Checkpoint in the town square park. We will be giving away goodie bags filled with candy and prizes to the first 200 kids that stop by our tables. For parents and other trick-or-treat chaperones we will have hot chocolate and hot apple cider available and will offer a place to stop and take a break from chasing after the ravenous tykes. We will also have games available for the kids to play.

The whole idea behind this event is to get out and be a part of our community. Halloween is an unusual holiday in that for one day many of the barriers we erect in our communities are taken down. On any other night of the year it would be considered rude to ring doorbell after doorbell down the block. But on ‘beggars night’ the porch lights are left on and there is actually a sense of anticipation for the doorbell to ring.

So here is at least one day of the year where the community comes together. If we the church want to be a part of our communities, why wouldn’t we want to take part in this? This doesn’t mean that we are required to embrace all that comes with Halloween. Nor do I think it means that we need to do everything we can to redeem the day by stuffing kids’ bags with gospel tracts. Instead, let’s participate in as much of the community event as we can without compromising our convictions or the gospel. I can pretty much guarantee that you will connect with people that wouldn’t normally set foot in your church, let alone come to some kind of sanitized ‘fall festival’ or ‘harvest party’.

So happy Halloween. Go and be a part of your community this weekend our whenever your town participates. And if you can, save some candy for me. I’ll take a Twix please.

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