It’s not that cold here at the moment, but very dark. It’s all quite depressing coming out of the office at 5pm to a pitch black world. It makes you want to go to bed early and never leave the house again. That’s why I like the atmosphere on our street at Halloween, it brings people out and about and a few of our neighbours are dedicated to the cause. One chased after us last night to point out we’d missed his house. It was a chance for some company as he lives alone, and loves seeing the little ones.
As parents at the end of a half-term week we are probably done with hanging out with small children, but for others its a real treat. Just hearing my daughter tonight singing “I’m a friend of God, he calls me friend!” (on repeat) helped me remember how important children our in our community and not just to us as parents.
I get that we shouldn’t celebrate the darkness and ghosts and evil, it’s not a great place to start. Far better to focus on the light and how we can shine in the darkness. As most Disney films will testify though, children can cope with monsters, tragedy and a dose of real life. They don’t like programmes that are just candy-coated sugar content.
When I was growing up in Yorkshire there wasn’t much trick or treating going on, (mainly as we lived on a farm) but the main focus was “Mischief Night” which I think was the UK version.. throwing random bags of eggs and flour at houses, and vandalising streets seems totally different to the cute costumes and fun atmosphere we’ve always experienced taking our kids out. There are many people who still remember that as a really scary night and I’m glad that tradition seems to have died down.
Anyway this week we’ll be focusing on getting back into the normal swing of things, and following on from the theme at church this week, thinking of how we can be a light in the darkness, inviting God in. I’m going to try and light a candle every night, just to remind me of this.
I think the kids are a great inspiration for this, as their default setting is fun, and sometimes I think Christianity fails on the fun factor, and in the process we risk forgetting why we follow Christ. It’s not to follow a set of rules and customs or to live selfish lives consumed with greed, but to be free. Free to do God’s will, which is not just about words but actions, living out our lives.
here’s the song, thanks to my daughter! (and her sunday school teachers!) https://youtu.be/u7_T5KtxZFM
The original reference in the song comes from James 2, v14-26
Faith and Deeds
14 What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if someone claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save them? 15 Suppose a brother or a sister is without clothes and daily food. 16 If one of you says to them, “Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it? 17 In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.
18 But someone will say, “You have faith; I have deeds.”
Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by my deeds.19 You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that—and shudder.
20 You foolish person, do you want evidence that faith without deeds is useless[d]? 21 Was not our father Abraham considered righteous for what he did when he offered his son Isaac on the altar? 22 You see that his faith and his actions were working together, and his faith was made complete by what he did. 23 And the scripture was fulfilled that says, “Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness,”[e] and he was called God’s friend. 24 You see that a person is considered righteous by what they do and not by faith alone.
25 In the same way, was not even Rahab the prostitute considered righteous for what she did when she gave lodging to the spies and sent them off in a different direction? 26 As the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without deeds is dead.