Over the years I’ve enjoyed writing for the Upper Room Disciplines. Our family thinks this is the best devotional resource. The devotions follow the texts of the Ecumenical Lectionary and are great preparation for hearing those texts preached in church on Sunday. I am the writer for this week and have enjoyed the responses I’ve received from readers. Here is my meditation for All Saints Eve:
Revelation 7:9-17 (Eve of All Saints)
“Halloween,” the psychologist explained, “is a creative way of dealing with our deepest fears by putting on a scary mask, a costume, and making fun of our fear that something horrible lurks in the dark.”
If that’s true, Halloween is a sad trivialization of the church’s All Saints Eve, a pitiful attempt to lay aside our deepest fears merely by mocking them.
“My mother attempted to reassure me, when I would wake terrified of the night, ‘Honey, there’s nothing to fear in the dark,’” recalled a friend. “After I lost my job, endured my daughter’s terrible illness, and my husband’s infidelity, I now know — Mom was wrong.”
Christians do not deny the darkness. We admit the reality of evil and pain even in this often beautiful world. We are able to be truthful about the forces that lurk because we have been let in on the last act of the play, the last chapter of the story, the outcome of the battle.
When Revelation 7 lifts the curtain on our ending, we catch a vision of the world when God at last gets what God has always wanted. In the end, when all is said and done, when the forces that cause us sometimes to suffer and weep are defeated, the once crucified Lamb shall reign “at the center of the throne.” Every fear defeated, every tear wiped away, not because of our creative denial of the darkness but rather because of the victory of the Lamb.
We don’t have to don a happy face mask and make fun of our fears. We have a story about where this wonderful, sometimes terrifying life is headed. At the end there is not fearful oblivion, evil’s triumph, eternal tears. In the end, God.
Let tomorrow’s All Saints good news be your comfort today and into eternity.
Lord Jesus, knowing that you not only love us but also will one day reign for us keeps us going today. Amen.