What wonderful weather we have had recently! Just enough rain (I think), warm temperatures during the day, and crisp, cool nights. I love fall!
On a sober note, we at Ebenezer want to extend our condolences to the family of Cheri Ruark and to her church family at Main Street Baptist. Her unexpected passing was a shock to everyone, and we are praying for all of you.
So many activities occur in the fall: the World Series, football—local to national, homecoming, Halloween, Thanksgiving. It really is a busy time. Congratulations to Greenfield’s Mighty Mites football team for making it to the Super Bowl next week! Great going, kids.
In our home we are ready for our last band competition in Warrensburg next Saturday. Wish good luck to Springfield’s Hillcrest Band, who finished second at Reed Springs’ Ozark Mountain Band Festival (my kids are in drum line and color guard). I’ll be there rooting the kids on, but I promise to be wide awake on Sunday morning even if we do get back late on Saturday night!
Also, at Ebenezer we are looking at our Sunday school setup and considering some changes. Watch for information in this article.
Yesterday’s Scripture from Luke 18 described the tax collector as sincerely repentant and humble in the presence of God, as contrasted with the Pharisee, who was proud and boastful. It is an interesting contrast applicable to each of our lives, as well. Are we expressing thanks to God for all “WE” have accomplished or for all God has accomplished through us? Truly, no matter what we have accomplished or achieved, one foundational issue remains: “All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.” Without God’s gifts and especially God’s gift of Jesus, we have no liberty in God’s presence, whatever our positive qualities. The tax collector knew this truth, as he humbled himself in God’s presence asking forgiveness for his sins.
Just a few more days and it will be Halloween! Whether you will be wearing a costume, making a costume, attending a party, trick-or-treating, passing out candy, or getting “pranked” for not passing out candy, this annual event brings a change to the everyday routine.
Many Christians do not celebrate Halloween, and I have to admit, that for years before I had children I did not either. My church back home had fall festivals, and if the children wanted to dress up for the party, they had to follow costume guidelines, i.e. nothing demonic or evil. It wasn’t until I came to CBC in Springfield and the academic dean and his little daughter came to our apartment door, that I realized it might be okay for Christians to participate! The embarrassing part was that we didn’t have any candy to give her.
In fact, Halloween, which really just means the eve of All Hallows, or All Saints Day (Nov. 1), has become a major celebration in our country. Costumes, candy, and paraphernalia have been on sale for weeks now, and kids have been planning their outfits for just as long. Can we participate in this celebration and still be “Christian”? Can we participate in what some call and “evil” observance?
You probably already know my answer, which is emphatically YES! Halloween fun does not have to be evil or scary or even demonic. We can be a light even on what some call the “darkest night of the year.” So get out some positive costumes, answer your door, and when the kids ask you what you are supposed to be, tell them the story of Noah, or Mary, or someone else who has made a positive contribution to our world. Be a part of your community and a positive influence in the lives of kids around you.
Speaking of masks, we wear them all through the year. Some of our masks consist of smiles when we are really feeling sad or lonely. Some masks portray as us as “having it all together” when we are really falling apart inside. And some masks, unfortunately, portray individuals as friends and safe people when they really are wicked and unsafe. Those of you born in the 50s probably remember the song, “They smile in your face, all the time trying to take your place—the backstabbers.” I think I’m safe in saying that we have all experienced someone like this, or have been someone like this!
What masks are you wearing today? Don’t get me wrong; I’m not suggesting we all wear our hearts on our sleeves or say whatever comes to mind. I am suggesting, however, that we consider transparency, being open with our brothers and sisters in Christ about who we are and what we need. Take down the mask and let someone help dry your tears. Wipe off the pleasant makeup and let someone help you with that anger problem. Take off the mask of “everything’s just peachy” and let someone trustworthy help you work through the addiction or problems that you have been hiding.
Masks are okay for Halloween or a costume party, but in everyday life, they only serve to further isolate us from those who could be an important part of our lives and our victory in Christ. Can’t seem to get the mask off? It might be kind of stuck after all these years! Pray and ask God to help. Just like the tax collector, get humble before God. Pour out your sorrow and pain. You’ll find healing and strength. And don’t forget to go to church on Sunday, where you’ll find even more help in living without a mask!
I would love to see you at Ebenezer. Join us at 11 a.m. next Sunday!
Mary Kay Glunt, Pastor
Ebenezer Presbyterian Church
Want to share this article with someone out of town? Tell them to go to revmkg.wordpress.com for an online copy!