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Prayer, Plain and Simple

I drove past a Halloween lawn decoration scene that’s haunting me. I suppose that is the intent. Haunting. The picture is right out of a run-of-the-mill horror flick: a manikin dressed in a coat and tie and carrying a briefcase and a shotgun that has just blown off the front half of his face… Happy Halloween!  

I know Halloween is all in fun. Most of us play along. When our children were small we dressed them up and marched them round the neighborhood to beg – with a veiled threat of extortion – from near strangers who have moral obligation to spend their good money contributing to America’s dental industry. I get it, that Halloween is all a gag, a way of teasing our instinct of revulsion. But when I step back for a critical look, I have to admit: something is perversely wrong with this “celebration.” Honestly, and there’s no way around it, Halloween depicts and flirts with evil.

And for that reason, I’m taking it as a path to God. Really.

Evil is one of the chief reasons I believe in God. Evil lives, and the very fact that I know it and recognize it and fear and hate it convinces me that Evil has actual substance and a face and that evil is wrong and must be defeated. It’s darkness that lets me recognize what isn’t light but also what IS LIGHT. In this sense, the face of evil in the gimmicks of horror paraded about the last weeks of October becomes a window for me to know in a new way the goodness of God. Contrast reveals truth!

The senseless, stupid, horrific lawn depiction of a man blasting off his head is so starkly vile that it can, if we will let it, turn our eyes toward the God who gives life purpose and gives us hope beyond the certainly to death. Halloween, by contrast can lead us to pray to a gentle, good, and faithful God who counters whatever evil is present and pervasive.

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