October the 31st, and it was a Sunday. There was nothing spooky or spiritual about the dogs deciding that 5.55 a.m. was the start of the "pagan" festival. Trust me - the combined weight of three labradors (the fourth was in another room) is a bouncing alarm clock that no one can ignore. Once up, everyone's up. It's a simple canine equation that is impossible to deny.
In my sermon this morning I admitted that I had tried, in thought and preparation, and with a little humor, to splice together the gospel story of Zacchaeus (he who climbed a sycamore tree to see the Lord) and the unavoidable theme of this weekend. The modern American expression of All Hallow's Eve, namely Halloween. I stated:
I find Zacchaeus more interesting than "ghoulies and ghosties, and long leggedy beasties, and things that go bump in the night." And, of course I do, but even as I spoke those words, that old and anonymous Scottish ditty, I started to have deeper thoughts about my denial. Because I am interested in those "ghosties." I have to be as a result of my own experiences, and those of my late father, also a priest.
Ghosts. Ah! People can step up and ask,"Do you believe in ghosts?" My answers are always ambiguous, for the very word "ghost" is culturally loaded. Others, mainly rigiliists when it comes to religious matters, will assert that as a Christian (and a priest, to boot) I must deny such notions. Then I remain quiet, and remember that line in the Nicene Creed that we believe in a God who is God of the "visible and invisible."
So, over the next few days, in this season of All Hallows, I am going to write some more. These will not be ghost stories, but they will be narratives from my own experiences and those of my father. I invite all to comment and add to these humble pages, which try to be honest in what they tell.