Monday, October 31, 2016

Devotion 11.1.16

The server at Hope is down as of Monday, Oct 31, 2016, and it has been for the past week.  The devotions are emailed every day from that server, so that is why you aren't getting devotions routinely.  Our apologies for the lengthy break in our daily devotion life.

Halloween is now a $7 billion dollar industry.  What was once a simple day of candy exchange and simple costumes has become a highly celebrated day with adult parties in full regalia, "trunk or treats" as in our own church, and houses decorated much like Christmas.  Oh, and we also allow our children to celebrate the day as well.

Did you know, however, that Martin Luther used October 31, 1517, to tack his 95 theses to the door at the church (Castle Church) in Wittenburg, Germany?  It is written that Luther used the door because the church, located on a university campus, served as a primary community board, like a bulletin board, and he chose the day because of several reasons.  First and foremost would be the traffic of those coming to the church to pay indulgences to see the collection at the church on All Saints Day (November 1).  With much of his concern centering on the power of the papacy (the pope) and indulgences, his theses would be read by those coming to the church that day.  Essentially he knew there would be high foot traffic.

Who are the "saints" observed on these occasions?  We are.  Those in Christ who've gone before us, our generations, and those who will be in Christ after us are all considered saints.  The readings for All Saints Day come from Revelation 7, 1 John 3, and Matthew 5.  In Revelation, we see the saints standing before God, clothed in white and serving God while he protects them.  In Matthew, Christ begins his first sermon in his ministry with the familiar "Beatitudes," and in 1 John 3, John writes, "See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are.  The reason why the world does not know us is that it did not know him.  Beloved, we are God's children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears, we shall be like him because we shall see him as he is."

So, was Luther's hammering on the door with the 95 Theses the first "knock" of Halloween?  Did Luther anticipate the pen that wrote those theses would send shock waves felt almost 500 years later?  Do we think, each Halloween, of the true gravity of this day in our faith lives?

Pray that we strive to be with the saints whom we celebrate each year, and that we strive to imitate them in our faith lives.  Pray for those saints who ultimately lose their lives for their faith and pray for their safety as they seek to spread God's Word in hostile environments.

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