So this is Halloween. Outside it is appropriately overcast, damp, breezy and the autumn leaves are well on their way to finding a resting place on the ground. To complete the Halloween effect, there are a lot of very scary things happening around us.
There are creepy, crawly, ghoulish creatures, roaming in our communities, appearing uninvited at our homes, asking for costly, sweet offerings for nothing in return. They come disguised so we can’t see who they really are and travel together in loud, aggressive, angry parties: Liberal Parties, Conservative Parties, New Democratic Parties to name a few. Very scary.
Apparently there have been other scary goings-on near our home. Just around the corner from us somebody was dismembered, limbs and entrails strewn around and hung in a tree and we didn’t even hear the sirens. Scary.
How about some scary but true news?
Here’s something especially scary: Anna Tew was going to be a zombie for Halloween so she bought a set of $3 large, fake teeth and glued them to her own teeth………. They felt tight so she tried to take them off to adjust them and … yeah, you’re right … they wouldn’t come off. She couldn’t cut them and, after drooling coffee on her lap, discovered that hot liquid didn’t work either. The dentist in the hospital was able to remove them with much twisting and pulling. And no scary anesthetic.
Kansas City police recovered a ten foot, hundred and fifty pound inflatable colon after it had been stolen from the ‘Get Your Rear In Gear’ campaign for colon cancer research. A giant colon in anybody’s hands would be a very scary hall of horror.
But the stories aren’t all sad. Amethyst Realm from Bristol has had sex with twenty ghosts since she was a teenager. She wasn’t looking for a new relationship (and why should she) but when a ghost she met on vacation boarded the plane with her she ended up joining the Mile High Club. Now, nine months later, she and her ghostly lover are engaged. When referring to the scary marriage proposal, Amethyst sounded downright sensible. ‘There was no getting down on one knee – he doesn’t have knees.’
Scary but true.
Okay, on the bright side, how about these wildly creative people I found who apparently have dressed up like hilarious, scary muppet characters!
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Admit it, the world is a downright, outright scary place. There is very real slaughter and blood and absolute hatred flashing across our news feeds almost daily.
While we were traveling this past weekend we learned the horrible news that eleven Jewish worshippers had been killed that morning in Pittsburgh. The gunman shouted ‘All Jews must die!’ and opened fire on helpless people with his AR-15, killing eleven and wounding six.
There was a time when the thought of being killed in a place of worship would have been unheard of. Now, we’re not shocked when it happens – just saddened.
For me, the scariness and sadness is compounded when I look around for answers and end up scratching my head in frustration. Leaders are selfish, governments are gridlocked, religious leaders are frozen in time. Scary.
However I was also able to see hope through the fog of scariness this week. In Pittsburgh, after that senseless racially motivated slaughter, faith communities joined together to lend support both emotionally and financially. We watched as they warmly embraced and stood together for peace and love and acceptance.
In spite of it all, I believe very strongly that God is still alive and that there is something much more hopeful in store for this world. It also reminds me how valuable the message of love is that Jesus brought us.
A few years ago historians created a picture of what Jesus probably looked like based on the science and historical descriptions we have. If you think he looked like that Jesus picture from Sunday School or at the front of your church, think again – he was likely brown skinned and small and stark.
But here’s the thing: millions of people through history have been drawn to him, changed by him regardless of his appearance. Societal trajectories through history have been changed through his people.
The more I look at it, the more I realize that the hope of the world is outside of the grasp of humans and is found in a much more hopeful place. The risen Jesus.
And that’s not scary at all.