The appearance of Halloween candy on convenience-store counters and supermarket shelves usually coincides with the arrival of crisp autumn mornings, an extra hour of sleep, and a vast array of costumes and pumpkin paraphernalia.
Celebration of Halloween is an annual staple of our nation’s economy and a fixture on the national calendar. Not all Christians embrace the custom, of course, but its presence is nearly impossible to ignore.<?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = “urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office” />
What many Christians often succeed in ignoring, unfortunately, is the day after Halloween: All Saints Day, Nov. 1.
Precisely because All Saints Day is not found on the secular calendar, it is all the more important as an event on the Christian calendar.
For centuries Christians have paused to celebrate, remember, and learn from the exemplary lives of faithful saints and martyrs.
Such cultivation of collective memory rewards the living with lessons from the dead. Giving a voice to those Christians who paved our way is an indispensable ingredient in the Christian tradition.
After Halloween, therefore, all Christians from across the various denominations spread throughout the whole world should pause to honor and remember those who have gone before and who await us in the world to come.
Baptists have always recognized those outstanding men and women who remind us of what it means to follow Christ, and a quick Google search for names such as Thomas Helwys, Adoniram Judson, Annie Armstrong, Lottie Moon or Barbara Jordan will provide ample reading material.
Examples from the broader Christian spectrum might include Ignatius of Antioch, Catherine of Siena, Sebastian Castellio, Che Kam Kong or Oscar Romero.
Let All Saints Day be a reminder of the great cloud of witnesses accompanying those who follow Jesus. Their stories are our history, their lives our example.
John Essick is a Ph.D. student in religion at Baylor University and member of DaySpring Baptist Church in Waco, <?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = “urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags” />Texas.