There is a monster that lurks in our world far more frightening and dangerous than any Halloween goblin.
reinterpreted by Deborah
Eternal One, from everlasting to everlasting you are God: before the mountains arose, or the earth was formed, or the universe took shape. From everlasting to everlasting you are God.
But the span of our lives is but a blink of Your eye, a grain of sand upon the beach, a flower that blooms in the morning and withers and dies and is swept away that same the night.
We are consumed by Your anger, obsessed with Your rage; certain that it will destroy us. We see our lies and deceits, our hateful thoughts and hurtful remarks — all of those “secret sins” we think are hidden — in the Light of Your radiant grace. And we cringe and complain and creep away, and go to our graves with a bitter sigh.
We may last for seventy years, or perhaps eighty, if we are strong — but what’s the point? We squabble and suffer, battle and belittle, and then it ends. Nasty, brutish, and short.
Why are we so focused on Your anger? Is it because rage and destruction are the only powers that we admire? Is fear the only way we can relate to You?
Teach us to count each day as a blessing, its hours filled with beauty, each minute bearing another chance to love and learn.
Turn our eyes, O Lord, let us see Your face! Give Your children a new beginning. Awaken us to Your faithful love every morning, so that we will be joyful all day long.
Make us glad as many days as we have been frightened, let us see Your glory as many days as we’ve been blind.
Let us be Your servants: bearers of Your love, workers of Your deeds, speakers of Your mercy, revealers of Your compassion.
May God, our Almighty God, strengthen and inspire us, and make our work a success — O Beloved Eternal, make our work a success!
At Halloween we revel in the scary and the grotesque: howling ghosts and shrieking goblins, slavering werewolves and thirsty vampires, half-wrapped mummies, hungry zombies, and dogs in orange wigs. But it is all make-believe: no one thinks these things are real — except perhaps the youngest of trick-or-treaters.
In the clear light of the new morning those alarming creatures of the night are revealed as mere fantasies; constructs of fabric and glue and finger paint.
There is nothing to fear.
Except, perhaps, a stomach ache from indulging in too many treats!
There are, however, genuinely frightening and grotesque creatures that haunt our landscape; ones that don’t disappear in the dawn. These are the images of God as our sworn enemy: a vindictive Judge, anxious to condemn; a Creator who designs in order to destroy; a bloody-minded Bookkeeper, scowling over a lifetime of accounts. This is the God of terror and intimidation; the God who is obeyed out of fear, not worshiped with love.
This is the Frankenstein monster built on gossip and innuendo, formed from rumors and misunderstandings; constructed of discarded bits and pieces; a disfigured “God” that nobody wants to know.
This creature stalks the imaginations of those who have never been inside a church or temple; his terrifying visage leers out from films and television programming in which his invariably zealous followers are depicted as violent, judgmental, sanctimonious twits. His path leads to madness and destruction.
And that’s really scary.
This false god is utterly unlike the true God described in the holy Scriptures, proclaimed by the prophets, and embodied in the Lord Jesus Christ. The manmade monster, a grotesque counterfeit of the Divine, blunders through the world, mindlessly destroying hope, breaking hearts, defiling God’s good Name.
The true God is gracious and loving, One who is compassionate, gentle, anxious to forgive and not condemn; ready to start anew, desirous of forgiving our debts rather than accumulating interest. Our God cannot be contained or controlled or limited; in the earliest contact the Divine will made itself known: “Understand that I will be gracious to whomever I choose, and will show mercy to whomever I choose.” Nobody can put a barrier between us and God.
God — the One True God — is, as the prophets and poets have repeatedly insisted, a merciful and gracious God, patient, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness forever, abundantly forgiving. God’s grace is greater than all our sins — all of our sins.
God’s love is more powerful, more abounding, more abundant than anything we have known or can imagine, and nothing — nothing; not death nor life, not angels or demons, not prisons or poisons or worldly powers, nothing now or ever, nothing above or below — nothing in all of creation can separate us from the love of God. Nothing.
The statement “do not be afraid” appears over 200 times in the holy Scriptures. There is nothing scary about our God, for God is love and in that glorious Presence there is no darkness at all: only radiant joy and abundant life.
Be assured: we have nothing to fear, for God is with us. And if God is with us, who can be against us?
Virtual hugs and real-time blessings,
Rejoice and be glad — and do not be afraid!