Find Us
Css Menu List by Vista-Buttons.com v5.7
20121 Santa Maria Ave
Castro Valley, CA 94546



Sunday Message for October 30, 2022


One dark night two guys were walking home after a party and decided to take a shortcut through the cemetery. When they got to about the middle of the graveyard they were startled and stopped moving.

There was this terrifying noise, "TAP-TAP-TAP" coming from the shadows. Trembling with fear, they spotted an old man with a hammer and chisel, chipping away at one of the headstones.

"Holy cow Mister," one of them said after catching his breath. "You SCARED us half to death. We thought you were a GHOST! What are you doing working here so late at night?"

"Those fools!" the old man grumbled. "They misspelled my name!!"

This is Halloween weekend. Or, if it isn't, I have a pretty weird group here.

There are some places that have decided that the kids should go Trick or Treating on Saturday night instead of Sunday this year, because Sunday is when you go to church. And there are church groups that have decided that Halloween is about the Devil and they won't let their kids participate any year.

In recent years Halloween seems to have needed defending against those who regard it as terrible. Certainly there can be excess at Halloween, but in itself the holiday is worthwhile.

It's widely known that many popular Halloween customs date back to the pre-Christian Druids of Ireland and Britain.

However, these customs come to us through the filter of many Christian centuries. The once fearful aspects of this season have become playful. Where once adults shuddered in fear, now even the smallest child can laugh.

Children are the chief celebrants of Halloween. Those of us who are adults serve as their assistants. And what do children do on Halloween? They dress up in outlandish costumes and witness their peers dressed up the same way. They walk through their neighborhoods in the evening, enter houses made to look frightful, they collect candy, and they return home again. The whole business is a delightful joke. Behind the scary masks and costumes are laughing children. Inside the frightful houses, decorated with spider webs and candles, are friendly, generous neighbors.

The child who goes forth with a trick-or-treat bag takes a sane, healthy, and adventuresome risk, and finds that the universe can be a safe place. The trick-or-treater discovers that the world is a comedy where terrible things have been defeated and remain only as a laughingstock. It's a great therapy for fear.

Those of us past childhood would do well to imitate the willingness of children to venture forth into the unknown, take risks, and return home not only safe but triumphant. Children are not embarrassed to struggle with the great division between good and evil, life and death, heaven and hell. They are new to this fight, and want to prove themselves heroic.

Benedictine sister Genevieve Glen writes of children: "They are all too aware of the human need to wrestle in the inward night with the unreasoning, the untamed, the inexplicable, and yes, the evil in us to believe us when we tell them that there are no witches and warlocks, no ghosts and goblins, and no phosphorescent skeletons.

They know, too, that if you're afraid of something, the best thing to do is to dress yourself and your friends -- and even your little brother -- as the thing you're afraid of, so that you can see it in familiar flesh and confront it and deal with it and prove to yourself that it can't really hurt you. They know that pretending that it isn't real won't work if it is. There are monsters under the bed."

So the Halloween wisdom of children comes down to this: There are monsters under the bed, but we can face our fears, and by grace and struggle be set free from them. This is infinitely preferable to the common adult attitude that denies monsters under the bed, yet insists on remaining fearful. The children have caught the Truth. Their hearts are filled with faith and fun.

While researching Halloween on the Web, I ran into some of the most bizarre Christian sites. I expected the opinion that some groups have about Halloween being devil worship or worse. But nothing prepared me for the vile ranting and raving of some of the ministers of certain faiths.

One site had 'back to school gear' for church's teenagers. They had T-shirts that said, "Landover Baptist Gun Club." But that was mild compared to what the minister had to say. He started off with, "Friends, it is about that time again when the Devil throws his annual costume party to celebrate gay marriage and other satanic mischief." From there on it just got worse and worse until he had condemned just about everyone except himself. He attributed the hurricanes to God and said that God's goal was to kill enough trailer park inhabitants so that there were less Democrats around to vote - but not so many as to leave Wal-Mart understaffed during the holidays.

No, I'm not afraid of ghosts and goblins, I'm afraid of radical religions. Those people who think that they are right and everyone else deserves to be hated or killed. I'm afraid of the people with little, tiny, closed-in minds. They need our prayers.

But you would be surprised at how many people are superstitious. Do you believe in ghosts, goblins, witches, the boogeyman, etc.?

Do you avoid black cats in order to avoid bad luck? This belief goes back to the Middle Ages when it was thought that a black cat was the companion or mascot of a group of witches, and that it changed into a witch or Satan after seven years of service.

Therefore, people reasoned, a cat crossing one's path might be a witch or the Devil in disguise, up to no good.

Is this one of your superstitions? Well, take it into prayer. Pray for black cats, pray for witches and pray for all people who have this superstition.

Then, of course, there is Friday the 13th. This is a double whammy because Fridays were considered bad luck and the number 13 was considered bad luck.

There is a Norse myth about 12 gods having a dinner party at Valhalla, their heaven. In walked the uninvited 13th guest, the mischievous Loki. Once there, Loki arranged for Hoder, the blind god of darkness, to shoot Balder the Beautiful, the god of joy and gladness, with a mistletoe-tipped arrow. Balder died and the Earth got dark. The whole Earth mourned.

There is a Biblical reference to the unlucky number 13. Judas, the apostle who betrayed Jesus, was the 13th guest to the Last Supper.

A particularly bad Friday the 13th occurred in the middle ages. On a Friday the 13th in 1306, King Philip of France arrested the revered Knights Templar and began torturing them, marking the occasion as a day of evil.

In ancient Rome, witches reportedly gathered in groups of 12. The 13th was believed to be the devil.

Both Friday and the number 13 were once closely associated with capital punishment. In British tradition, Friday was the conventional day for public hangings, and there were supposedly 13 steps leading up to the noose.

It is traditionally believed that Eve tempted Adam with the apple on a Friday. Tradition also has it that the Flood in the Bible, the confusion at the Tower of Babel, and the death of Jesus Christ all took place on Friday

I am sure you have all seen how the fear of the number thirteen is demonstrated in the world.
   More than 80 percent of high-rises lack a 13th floor.
   Many airports skip the 13th gate.
   Airplanes have no 13th aisle.
   Hospitals and hotels regularly have no room number 13.
   Italians omit the number 13 from their national lottery.
   On streets in Florence, Italy, the house between number 12 and 14 is addressed as 12 and a half.
   Many cities do not have a 13th Street or a 13th Avenue
   In France, socialites known as the fourteeners once made themselves available as 14th guests to keep a dinner party from an unlucky fate.
   If you have 13 letters in your name, you will have the devil's luck . Jack the Ripper, Charles Manson, Jeffrey Dahmer, Theodore Bundy and Albert De Salvo all have 13 letters in their names.

So you can see how superstitions get compounded and added to throughout the years. But, I have never had a bad Friday the 13th. The next time one comes around, take it into prayer. Ask God to disprove this superstition by giving you the best day you ever had.

Another one that we all seem to know about is that it is bad luck to walk under a ladder. It's common sense to avoid walking under an open ladder for fear of something falling on you, but there are superstitious reasons for doing so as well. Consider the shape of an open ladder; a triangle that signifies life to some.

When you walk though the triangle, you are tempting the fates. You may also awaken spirits that live within the triangle (including evil spirits who may not be happy with the disturbance). If you do accidentally walk under a ladder, you can counter the bad luck by placing your thumb between your index and middle finger. Another method is to cross the fingers on both hands to call upon the sign of the cross to protect you from evil.

Or you could just take it into prayer if this is one of your beliefs. Ask God to help you separate the Truth from the myth of your belief system. God always answers.

One writer asks, "Why are people so gullible? One reason is modern man's loss of religious faith. That loss creates a vacuum ready to suck in some new form of belief. The eminent British broadcaster Malcolm Muggeridge (1903 ~ 1990) had this to say on the subject, 'One of the peculiar sins of the twentieth century which we've developed to a very high level is the sin of credulity (or being open to anything). It has been said that when human beings stop believing in God they believe in nothing. The truth is much worse: they believe in anything.'"

"Why are we so gullible? Another reason is we can't face the truth. We're willing to sacrifice the truth whenever it makes us feel uncomfortable. But, as Plato taught, 'We can easily forgive a child who is afraid of the dark; the real tragedy of life is when men are afraid of the light.'"

Yes, we are guilty of gullibility, as the famous showman, P.T. Barnum, once said: "there's a sucker born every minute."

The movie, THE LEGEND (1985), starring Tom Cruise had goblins in it. Legend is a tale of good against evil, right against wrong, and love against lust. The hero Jack (Tom Cruise) is a boy of the woods and a friend of the animals. Then there is his great love named Lily. Jack wants to show Lily something magical, but of course, there is a dark force at work. There is one who wants to destroy the unicorns. The dark force is the devil and with the help of his goblins there may never be another sunrise. Will good triumph over evil? Hey, it's a fairy tale.

The boogeyman is an imaginary monster used to frighten children.

The movie, "BOOGEYMAN" came out in Feb. 2005 and apparently was a great flop. Here are some responses to that movie.
- "Basically, it's 86 minutes of one man having a staring contest with a door."
- "Boogeyman is endlessly boring, blatantly nonsensical and, frankly, absolutely worthless."
- "Instead of heightening one's fear of closets, it simply creates an overwhelming urge to head straight for the nearest theater door."

Believe me, there are some mean people out in the world, but there is no true boogeyman! And I don't know why our parents or others used to tell us stories about the so-called boogeyman.

Our Spiritual Powers in Action
When it comes to the 12 powers, our divine inner attributes, Halloween gives us an opportunity to witness them in action.

The power of imagination is evident in the decorations and costumes. The porch lights welcoming trick-or-treaters symbolize life, order, and wisdom.

The excitement of trick-or-treaters calls upon zeal, faith, and love.

The freedom of expression relates to our ability to gain power over our fears; release outdated thoughts, beliefs, and feelings; and acquire a greater understanding of the positive aspects of the holiday.

By recognizing the presence of God in everyone and everything, we acquire the strength to see beyond appearances to the Allness of God and use our will to make choices from divine consciousness

So don't be afraid. If Jesus can make the wind and the waves obey him then surely He can save us. Do not be afraid of the myths of this world for, "you are from God, and have conquered them; for the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world."a

a1 John 4:4

Top of      page