Interestingly, the Pagan holiday of Samhain in the Northern Hemisphere coincides with All Saint’s Day and All Souls’ Day. And in the Southern Hemisphere it coincides with Walpurgis Night. While there are those who would make accusations of copying holidays, we need to consider the likelihood that different people might be looking at the same thing from their own perspective.
The book of Revelation shows even more, with the inclusion beyond the elite 144,000. Beyond them, there was a group which nobody could number, in white robes and holding palms. So much for those who would like to make us feel defeated.
For some reason, this was a difficult service to do, including a physical illness and a few other things. But here it is, including some special prayers included for the benefit of those we love who have crossed over.
Here is one of the more over-interpreted Epistle readings, and the fact is that it is really very straightforward. For all of the extra “stuff” some might want to add, the answer is simply to use the protection you have been given to keep yourself from danger.
Understand that sin is really about, and you’ll understand. We don’t want to replace something that’s worth the effort with some “quickie” that only brings brief gratification.
A pair of readings which drive home a point which many miss. In the Gospel reading, Jesus comes upon a funeral procession for a widow’s only son. Her only son dying would condemn a widow to destitution. Jesus brings her son back from the dead, and the people are overwhelmed by that happening.
In the Epistle, St Paul wishes the Ephesians to be able to comprehend with all saints the breadth, length, depth and height and know the love of Christ which passeth knowledge. Imagine how much that must be compared to our own knowledge!
Here we have a pair of readings with essentially the same message: Don’t get hung up on the wrong stuff! It’s an easy trap to fall into, and we don’t need it.
In the Epistle, we’re reminded of the various people who would love to have us “jump through hoops” for one reason or another, even if it is not necessary. Such people are on power trips that we do not need to feed.
In the Gospel, we hear an often mis-used verse about the lilies of the field, but it is valid to use in terms of a line in a prayer which we all know. When we say “Give us this day our daily bread” we ask to be fed today, but without concern about tomorrow’s bread which will come when it is due. It’s the simple fact that mammon is physical wealth, and people cannot worship both God and physical wealth. Seek the Kingdom of God, and you can also have the rest.
We’re back, and there’s all the more reason to distribute sacraments along with potential controversy! How many people actually get what Jesus was telling us? Paul certainly did!
The legalism of the Old Testament, especially The Law, was a stumbling-block for people. And I’m sure that most of us can think of something we were never attracted to until someone tried to prohibit it! And that’s the reason for the Kingdom of Heaven and the Spirit.
And if we follow the Spirit, the fruits of the Spirit will exclude the fruits of The Law, giving us something far greater!