Geneva United Methodist Church
Saturday, November 17, 2018
Make and mature disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world.

Pastoral Message

Did you ever wonder where October got its name? “Octo” means “eight” in Latin, but October is not the eighth month in our calendar; it is the tenth. The answer is that October used to be the eighth month in the ancient Roman
Calendar until 700 BC, when King Numa Pompilius
 the months of January and February. The Julian Calendar, and later on the Gregorian Calendar (which
we still use) kept the name October, even though it was
no longer the eighth month. If that bothers you, you could always use the month's Anglo-Saxon name "Winterfylleth," which means 'winter full moon."

Many people love October, and you can include me as
one of those 
people; the cooler weather, the beautiful
colors of the leaves, 
sweatshirts, football, pumpkin-flavored everything, and of course, Halloween. Many holidays on
the Christian calendar replaced Pagan 
holidays, but often,
the Christian veneer covering the old holidays 
was very
thin. Absorbing local holidays but changing their 
theological interpretation to something that fit Christianity made it 
easier to convert many Pagans and for Christianity to
spread. The 
Pagan holidays were popular because the
people did not have to work 
on them, and if they could
see a similarity between their old religion 
and the new
one, it was easier for them to accept the new religion.

Halloween is an abbreviation of “All Hallows Eve”, the day before “All Saints Day.” All Saints Day is dedicated to remembering the lives of the holy leaders of the Church who had already passed away. The day before All Saints Day was thought to be a day of darkness, when the veil separating the realm of the living and the realm of the dead was at its thinnest, enabling spirits to cross over and roam the earth. Halloween replaced the Pagan holiday “Samhain” (which is pronounced “SAH-win”). In many European countries, bonfires were and still are lit on this night to keep the spirits away. Trick-or-Treating was originally engaged in by children dressed up as spirits seeking a bribe in the form of sweets in order to stay away from haunting a neighbor’s house. 

The holiday All Saints Day in Mexico is celebrated as “Día de los Muertos,” meaning “Day of the Dead.” It is a time when families remember their deceased relatives by setting up altars with pictures, candles, flowers and good things to eat and drink. They also visit the cemeteries where their relatives are buried, playing music, carrying candles to light the way, bringing flowers to decorate the tombstones, and lugging baskets of food and drink in order to eat a picnic meal near the graves of their loved ones who have passed away. It is said that deceased family members do not completely pass away so long as their family remembers them and continues to tell their stories. What a beautiful custom!

And, Happy All Hallows Eve to all of you too! -- Pastor Randy