by Daniel Rodgers

Unhallowed Halloween
Daniel Rodgers
Ephesians 5:1-17

INTRODUCTION: Tomorrow is Halloween, for many, a time of celebration. Kids get to dress up in their costumes and go ''Trick or Treating''; adults attend the company parties--everyone has a great time. If you visit your local bank, chances are your clerk will be dressed in a costume. Hospitals, grocery stores, and even the public schools have decorated with witches, ghouls and goblins. It seems innocent enough, doesn't it?

In addition, Halloween has become one of the biggest sales promotions of the year, second only to Christmas. In visiting a typical department store one can find everything from Jack-o'-Lanterns to witches costumes, masks, black cats...there's something for everybody.

Tomorrow we will witness the culmination of all this endless energy as everyone awaits the cover of darkness to celebrate ''Halloween.''

ILLUS: Actually, Halloween's unsavory beginning goes back long before the birth of Christ, when the Druids, in what is now Britain and France, Germany, Scotland and Ireland, observed the end of the summer with sacrifices to their gods. It was the beginning of the Celtic year, and they believed that the Lord of death, whose name was ''Samhain,'' would send evil spirits to attack humans. The only way people could escape being attacked, was by assuming disguises and looking like evil spirits themselves. It is said that the waning of the sun and the approach of dark winter made evil spirits rejoice and play nasty tricks on people.

The modern custom of going door to door asking for food and candy goes back to the time of the Druids. They believed that sinful lost souls, awaiting judgment, were released upon earth by Samhain for one night on October 31st. They were thought to gather around houses of the living and were greeted with banquet laden tables and gifts in order to appease them.

More than a thousand years ago, the Catholic Church attempted to turn this celebration into a ...

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