A collection of past contributions…
Have you ever noticed that many ghoulies, zombies and other scary Halloween persona speak with British accents? That’s been my observation. Motion-sensitive Halloween displays have British accents. What’s with that? Are all zombies British? Or do they become British when they become zombies? Would French zombies speak in English accents? These are vexing questions. I know one thing for sure – Montreal zombies don’t speak with English accents! Any English zombies in Montreal will have to learn to speak with French accents if they ever expect to order a meal at a restaurant!
This is, of course, a spoof. But consider what our Halloween celebrations reveal about our understanding of true spiritual evil and those beings that, rather than being inventions of Hollywood or of creative toy designers, are real – and very, very dangerous. You know when it’s a really bad time to meet the real demons? When you meet them in the Lake of Fire. That sounds harsh, but our dance with the lighter side of Halloween may lead to a dance of death if we never deal with the reality of our eternal state without Christ.
In Mathew 25:41 Jesus warns, “Then He will also say to those on His left, ‘Depart from Me, accursed ones, into the eternal fire which has been prepared for the devil and his angels” (NASB) Also, Revelation 20:15, “And if anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.” (NASB)
Now that’s scary stuff! But Jesus, in His death and resurrection provides the solution. In Hebrews 2:14-15 we discover, “that through death He might render powerless him who had the power of death, that is, the devil, and might free those who through fear of death were subject to slavery all their lives.” (NASB)
So, don’t be afraid of those British zombies. Be afraid of coming judgement without Christ.
I walked alone among the many lunchtime travelers, passing small storefronts and restaurants that defined a backstreet in West Philly. Inviting aromas from a Greek restaurant wafted out their open door. The bright sun was out again after a rainy Philadelphia morning. A request had gone out to help with Alex, the son of a coworker, and I was headed to Children’s Hospital to give blood. My mind was on Alex. I prayed for his healing as I walked. Alex was dying of Wilms Tumor and had needed many blood transfusions. He was four. Alex ultimately did not survive his battle with cancer. I have a lasting memory of that lunchtime walk. Including the memory of a shimmering, bright reflection in a puddle left by the morning rain. The puddle clearly reflected the blues and whites of the sky above. As I moved along, a thought came to my mind, “Even the puddles reflect the sky.”
Joe is 84. I always ask, “How are you doing, Joe?”. His unfailing response, “I’m on the top side of the grass!” Once though, he added, “The number of my days was determined in eternity past, and I will live no more and no less.”
So why did Alex have so few days and Joe so many? Jesus, referring to children, once said, “Of such is the kingdom of Heaven.” There must be lots of kids in Heaven.
We don’t understand the reasons for our number of days – why one has so many, and why another has so few. But do we have to understand in order to have faith? Or even to have peace? Faith that, in spite of the intense pain of loss, still looks up, or at least while looking down, sees a reflection of the sky in the puddles?
Jesus Christ provided a way whereby we can look forward to a time of reunions, when there will be no more pain, or tears of mourning, and no more death. That’s the long view – for Alex, for Joe, and for us.
English people may have struggled contemplating the new world order created by the loss of the American Colonies. How would commerce, social and political arrangements be affected? It was a bumpy path, with additional skirmishes to follow.
But we were excited. As Benjamin Franklin optimistically observed at the First Continental Congress, which was frequently a divided body even back then, the sun carved on the back of the Chairman’s chair was rising, not setting.
So the sun rose on our new nation. The providential occurrences that were a part of that age, including George Washington’s evident divine protection at the battle at the Monongahela River in Western Pennsylvania during the French and Indian Wars, made it evident that this nation had a divine place in history. At that battle, while many holes were put in Washington’s uniform, no holes were put in Washington! This led the Indian leader to instruct his warriors to stop trying to shoot him off his horse because he was being divinely protected.
So the sun rose on our new nation. With our many flaws we have remained here with our ever changing place in history. So whereto from here? We celebrate our freedom but we stumble over our freedom. “Freedom” itself gets constantly redefined – and compromised. Hopefully that sun has not run its course across the sky of our existence.
But there is one celebration of freedom that will last at least another 1000 years. We have Providential promise of that. Found in Leviticus 23:34 and in Zechariah 14:16, it is the Jewish “Feast of Booths”. It commemorates the escape of the Hebrew nation from Egyptian slavery. The whole millennial world will celebrate!
God has His hand on history, and He has his hand on our nation – our extent and our duration. May we celebrate His blessings for many years to come!