When the Saints Come Marching In
“At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two, from top to bottom. The earth shook, and the rocks were split. The tombs also were opened, and many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised. After his resurrection they came out of the tombs and entered the holy city and appeared to many.”
-Matthew 27:51-53 NRSV
*Don’t miss the special Mission Announcement at the end*
Amongst all the divisions and turmoil, I do believe I’ve found the one thing that 99% of humanity has in common:
We maintain hope after death.
Halloween may have Gaelic, non-Christian origins in a harvest festival called “Samheim,” but the premise is still there. Samheim adherents believed fall was the time of year that the barriers between the physical world and the spiritual world were thinner, and they could commune with their ancestors. Look at “Dia de Los Muertos” a and, again, the idea that our loved ones on the other side of life are still there for us. Halloween, as a word, comes from words of “hallowed” and “eve” (or “een” for all of you old English fans) and was named for the day preceding All Saints Day, a Holy Eve before a day we remember and venerate those who have gone before us.
I had always learned that All Saints Day was a reaction to “All Hallows Eve,” as the Christian church has become quite noteworthy for appropriating existing cultural elements (i.e., Christmas trees), but it seems Christians gave Halloween it’s name. Early Christians, following in their Gaelic cultural footsteps, would don costumes of saints and evil spirits and re-enact the battle of good over evil. I can only assume that “good” was represented by Reece’s Peanut Butter Cups and “evil” was played by Candy Corn.
We all seem to want to believe that evil can be conquered and that death isn’t the end.
In fact, I heard a very memorable conversation in line at a Chipotle 4-5 months ago that forms the basis for the universality of this statement. A guy and a girl were discussing religion, both stating clearly their atheistic views (she was probably a little more agnostic), and the damage that religion has caused in the world. However, as it was taking quite a long time to make burritos and bowls, the conversation shifted to school, studies, and how this woman was hoping to become a civic-minded engineer like her grandfather who had inspired her. Her exact hope was to devise more environmentally friendly, low-income housing. Why I remember this so clearly is that when he said, “That sounds like a tough job,” she said, “I know he’s watching and helping me.”
Did I mention these people were self-proclaimed non-religious atheist/agnostics?
When it comes to those we love, it doesn’t seem to matter. We all seem to hold on to hope after death, because deep-seated within us is the longing to be with our loved ones AND the real, legacy feeling that they aren’t totally gone.
Sometimes this takes on the form of the practices of “Dia de Los Muertos” and other times it might be a seance or sorts. But here in Matthew 27, when Jesus’ death tears the Temple curtain, the saints come marching in, and the integration of the spiritual and physical become very real in the real resurrection of Jesus from the dead, we find an answer to the longing that we all hope for. There is life after death with Jesus.
Those who have gone before are with God in heaven. But we who remain can feel their presence because God isn’t distant in heaven. God has torn the Temple open to bring God’s presence fully to the world, paving the way for the Revelation 21 reality where God walks among us, there is no more night, and there is no more need for gates – because all live and all have life.
There are 2 opportunities to bless others from November 5 to November 19:
We are supporting the 17 hourly (non-contract) employees at Harper Elementary school and the efforts of ACO with this food drive. Below is a list of desired items:
- $25 Grocery Gift Cards for Frozen Turkey/Ham
- Corn Meal/ Corn Muffin Mix
- nstant Mashed Potatoes
- Stuffing Mix
- Canned Gravy or Gravy Packets
- Cranberry Sauce
- Canned Fruit
- Canned Pie Filling (Pumpkin & Others)
- Pie Crust Mix
- Canned Evaporated Milk
- Jell-O and Pudding Mixes
- Canned Yams/Sweet Potatoes
- French Fried Onions
- Cream Mushroom Soup
- Canned Corn
- Canned Green Beans
One of our seniors asked us to help participate in her senior project at Lovejoy High School, and it fit along with our current mission work well. Luka Dueck’s project is to organize and deliver basic necessities to the homeless in Dallas and surrounding counties. Items requested are: