31 October 2022 Anno Domini
the Anglican Orthodox Communion Worldwide
“A glorious high throne from the beginning is the place of our sanctuary. 13 O Lord, the hope of Israel, all that forsake thee shall be ashamed, and they that depart from me shall be written in the earth, because they have forsaken the Lord, the fountain of living waters.”
(Jeremiah 17:12-13; all scripture quoted is from the King James Version)
The contrast between Reformation Day (October 31) and All Hallows Eve (Halloween) could not be more vivid. The Church had forgotten its First Love over the course of centuries following the Apostolic Age. Many man made traditions and fallacies had taken on the nature of Holy Scripture which they weren’t. The sanctuary had been defiled as was the Temple in the days our Lord cleansed it and chased out the merchants and money-changers.
The Church had rotted from the head down when Martin Luther nailed his ninety-five theses to the door of All Saints Church in Wittenberg on this day in 1517. The ministry had become corrupt from the Pope down to the friar, and men were told they could buy indulgences to cover past and future sins – among many other false teachings.
A great deal of courage was required of Luther to step out in opposition to the mightiest power on earth at the time, the Roman Church and her self-proclaimed Vicar of God on earth – the Pope. But all great deeds are wrought with the courageous and not the timid. Luther risked burning at the stake for his courageous act, but God preserved him to continue a great movement to reform the Church. Reformation spread like a burning fire over continental Europe and the English Isles. Archbishop Cranmer and many English bishops followed in his trail and suffered martyrdom.
But Reformation Day is seldom mentioned in public media today, overridden by the corrupt celebration called Halloween. Halloween began as ‘All Hallows Eve’ as a response to the Celtic holiday of Samhain – a night of mischievous revelry that included, at times, human sacrifice. It was a time to glorify death. But All Hallows Eve did not, at first, include the licentious behavior it has come to represent in Halloween. It was a day of prayer for the dead. But this, too, was heretical in that prayers for the dead can avail nothing for the unconscious soul. Hallow means Holy,’ and ‘een’ is an abbreviation for even, or evening. There is certainly nothing Holy about Halloween since it glories death, witches, open tombs, and every dark and evil spirit.
The Holy Scriptures tells us that the dead know nothing at all. The body has returned to the dust of the ground and the spirit to God who gave it. There are no such things as ghost and goblins. It is dishonest to teach our children to emulate such dark creatures of man’s imagination. Prayers for the dead avail nothing.
Solomon proclaims the truth that a living dog is better than a dead lion: “This is an evil among all things that are done under the sun, that there is one event unto all: yea, also the heart of the sons of men is full of evil, and madness is in their heart while they live, and after that they go to the dead. 4For to him that is joined to all the living there is hope: for a living dog is better than a dead lion. 5For the living know that they shall die: but the dead know not any thing, neither have they any more a reward; for the memory of them is forgotten. 6Also their love, and their hatred, and their envy, is now perished; neither have they any more a portion for ever in any thing that is done under the sun.” (Ecclesiastes 9:3-6)
Our Lord clearly states in many places that once dead, no good deed or decision can be forthcoming. “I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die. Believest thou this?” (St John 11:25-26) When our Lord went to the house of Jairus to restore his dead daughter, the Jews laughed Him to scorn for they said she was “dead.’ These unbelievers knew death, but our Lord Jesus Christ knows LIFE.
That is the difference in Halloween and Reformation Day. The first celebrates death, the second the restored LIFE of the Church.