Prayer, Plain and Simple

Prayer, Plain and Simple


A Prayer for All Hallows Eve

posted by Mark Herringshaw

What we call “Halloween” has origin in an ancient Celtic festival to remember the dead called “Samhain.” By the 800s the Celts had become Christian and they “converted” their pagan celebration into a Christian holy day honoring those who had had died and now continued their life in heaven. They called this new synthesized celebration All-hallowmas or All-hallows, meaning All Saints. The night before – the old Samhain – began to be called All-hallows-eve, then finally Halloween.

From ancient times, pagan and Christian, this day commemorates the memory of those who have died. Death of course is a universal human experience, both dealing with the passing of those we love and finally with our own final demise. Death happens.

The difference for Christians, and the fundamental distinction between pagan Samhain and Christian All Saints Day, is that Christians claim evidence for the death of Death. Many religions have myths of gods  who die and come back to life. Christians claim that the myth happened in history, that Jesus of Nazareth suffered actual death at the hands of Romans, then three days later in a real time and place returned to life in the same body, now transformed into a new form. For Christians this isn’t myth, it’s myth made history.

A Christian celebration of the Dead (All Saints) is always rooted in hope anchored in history. We really believe. Yes we do. Death for us is still filled with uncertainty and sadness and even grief. It hurts. But it does not terrify or lead us to despair. Paul, the Apostle puts it this way: “Death, where is your sting? Grave, where is your victory?”

Christians have redeemed this ancient time for grief and fear and turned into a time for remembrance and hope. In that form, Thank God for All-hallows Eve.

“God, we thank you for life. We thank you for those who have lived with us and now because of your goodness live in a new way in a new place. This is a season of grief and remembrance and sadness. But because of the victory of Jesus over death, it is not a season for fear or despair. We have hope, because of Jesus’ resurrection that we too will live forever. That fact of faith allows us to rest here and now and enjoy our moments with you here while we have them here. After all, we have forever to enjoy the rest! Remove fear of death in our lives and lead us to trust you for every moment. Thank you God for a Holy All Hallows Eve.”

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  • S.Smith. Mrs

    Dear Sir
    As an Evangelical, Bible believing Anglican teacher and mother I am appalled at the ignorance of many Christians regarding the true meaning of All Hallows Eve.
    If we could go back to the correct way of remembering All Hallows Eve not only would we begin, hopefully, to respect those who had “gone before” but we would also learn some history and the day itself would begin to have a lighter side.
    What provisions have you put in place for us to learn about the real meaning of this present weekend’s festival?
    Yours very sincerely
    S.Smith (Mrs)

  • randellthompson

    i wood like you to pray for me The gay git out of me

  • Marie

    It’s just absolutely amazing to me how you contradicted yourself on this entire subject.
    You also keep forgetting about what I said twice before, how the Spanish People celebrate Halloween as: “The Day Of The Dead.”
    Must be nice to be ignorant as you are.

  • Marie

    To Rnadall Thompson:
    Once you’re Gay, You’re Gay for the rest of your life.
    There’s No If’s, And’s or But’s about it.
    Why dont’ you accept yourself as you are?????
    Why are you being ignorant????

  • Marie

    Once again, you have your information completely wrong. You might want to read the entire text below & correct yourself. It is the proof how you are conintually wrong & continually contradict yourself. Get your facts straight….
    Feast of All Souls
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    The Church has encouraged prayer for the dead from the earliest times as an act of Christian charity. “If we had no care for the dead,” Augustine noted, “we would not be in the habit of praying for them.” Yet pre-Christian rites for the deceased kept such a strong hold on the superstitious imagination that a liturgical commemoration was not observed until the early Middle Ages, when monastic communities began to mark an annual day of prayer for the departed members.
    In the middle of the 11th century, St. Odilo, abbot of Cluny (France), decreed that all Cluniac monasteries offer special prayers and sing the Office for the Dead on November 2, the day after the feast of All Saints. The custom spread from Cluny and was finally adopted throughout the Roman Church.
    The theological underpinning of the feast is the acknowledgment of human frailty. Since few people achieve perfection in this life but, rather, go to the grave still scarred with traces of sinfulness, some period of purification seems necessary before a soul comes face-to-face with God. The Council of Trent affirmed this purgatory state and insisted that the prayers of the living can speed the process of purification.
    Superstition still clung to the observance. Medieval popular belief held that the souls in purgatory could appear on this day in the form of witches, toads or will-o’-the-wisps. Graveside food offerings supposedly eased the rest of the dead.
    Observances of a more religious nature have survived. These include public processions or private visits to cemeteries and decorating graves with flowers and lights. This feast is observed with great fervor in Mexico.

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment Angle

    when the lord made us, he made us male or female not what mom made us

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