Armodoxy for Today: Child’s Play
I often wonder why we complicate things. Why is it that children are flexible and bounce back from difficulties? Why does Jesus point to a child, challenging us to understand that Kingdom of God it belongs such like the little children?
Halloween is one such time when I can’t help but think about the innocence that is lost when adults jump into children’s lives. Halloween is a church feast. It is the night before “All Saints Day” or “All Hallow’s Eve” slurred to the sound of Halloween. Yes, the roots are pagan, but so are the roots of just about everything else. Christians have taken the tradition of remembering the saints – the hallows – and celebrating them. All Saints Day is celebrated on November 1st in the West, and so October 31st is the Eve of All Hallow’s Day. In the Armenian Church, All Saints Day is celebrated on the Saturday closest to November 1st and so the eve is on Friday night. In Armenian we refer to the evening celebration as nakhatonak or “before the feast.”
Saints are very special people in our lives. They are not gods, that is, they are people just like us, with their frailties and imperfections. They have sinned, doubted, betrayed and have been found to be insincere. Yet, despite their imperfections, they have risen from their humanity to touch the divine. In other words, because they are like us, the door is opened to the possibility for all of us to excel and strive for perfection.
Because we believe in the continuity of life, we believe saints live beyond their earthly existence. The practice of intercessory prayer is merely asking the saints to remember us in their prayers, much like you would ask any of your friends or your priest or pastor to pray for you. Because saints have passed on, the notion of connecting with someone in the grave conjures up spooky thoughts and expressions. Add to this the money motive, and you have the formula for what takes place today at Halloween, with scary movies, zombies, bloody masks, and disfigured disguises.
Here’s a challenge that comes straight out of the Armodoxy playbook, take back Halloween. What a beautiful way to share the traditions of the Church with your children, but to have them dressed up as the saints of the Church! Each saint brings a story of devotion, dedication and challenges us to overcome. Halloween can be a means of learning and celebrating your religious heritage.
As you dress up in the costume of your favorite saint, listen to the intercessory prayer made to our saints.
O Christ our God, you crown your saints with triumph and you do the will of all who fear you, looking after your creatures with love and kindness. Hear us from your holy and heavenly realm by the intercession of the Holy Mother of God and by the prayers of all your saints. Hear us Lord, and show us your mercy. Forgive, redeem and pardon our sins. Make us worthy thankfully to glorify you with the Father, and with the Holy Spirit. Now and always and unto the ages of ages. Amen.
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