Wednesday, October 31, 2007

This is the day.

It has been busy around our house with the ark setting sail. (Or would that be a launch?) Hmmm...

So, I wanted to share some thoughts with all of you, dear Internets, on this day, the day with which I struggle each and every year.

Our church had a festival this evening with Trunk or Treat, games and free food for all. At first I struggled with whether or not I should participate. Some of you may remember this post.

I prayed. I prayed a lot. I respect our leadership. I truly do. Our pastor has a love for people and a real heart for all to know Christ. He is the type of pastor who wants to go to the people, to meet them where they are and tell them the saving message of Christ.

I kept thinking about the struggles I have with this day, many of the things that go with it, and about my own Sunday School class. All of them would be there. Should they see their teacher?

And I prayed some more.

In the end, I felt led to participate. I felt God tugging at my heart. I thought about those Sunday School kids and how they should see their teacher support the outreach ministries of the church. And believe me, folks. This event was truly an outreach ministry.

Tonight, hubs, daughter and I passed out over 600 bracelets with a message about God on all of them.

That's 600 kids, with probably 2 parents (you do the math) who I otherwise would have never met. Who knows how many of them will decide when they are searching for a safe haven, a place where people love them with A Love that is beyond compare, to choose our church as that place?

And you know what else? I was in the car this morning after seeing some not-so-friendly costumes at a local business and I thought to myself, "This is the day that The Lord has made."

I will rejoice and be glad in it. I am not going to let anything or anyone prevent me from rejoicing. Nope. Not this day.

Even though I still would love to see our churches have festivals on other days, I know there are so many kids out there, some of whom walked by my trunk and held out their precious little hands, who otherwise would not have stepped onto the church grounds if it had not been for tonight's festival. I am thankful for the opportunity to smile at them and offer them a message of hope and of love.

So now you know why I have been working on the ark. My prayer is that these many people, some of them lost, will not remember a simple, cardboard replica of God's amazing promise and grace. Nor will they remember a saved-by-grace, middle-aged woman, still growing in her faith, still struggling with the answers, sharing the message of God's amazing promise and grace.

My prayer is that somewhere, tucked down deep in their hearts, is the message of God's amazing promise and grace.

And tonight I am going to pray for them all. All 1800 + of them.


{Karla} said...

And I've said a prayer for them as well.


Linda said...

I struggle the same way with the day. Currently, your and my struggle is not popular in Christian circles. We are considered rigid and standoffish, I think. Prudish, maybe. I posted about this on Internet Cafe yesterday, about staying in the Light. Why do people love darkness? Not that every little princess trick or treater loves evil, of course. I just don't like the "spirit"of the day. I believe God can redeem anything, though. Often at Oneighty we get criticized for our methodology of getting kids in the door, but our motto is "whatever it takes" to win kids to Christ. Thanks for being honest in your post.

ValleyGirl said...

Both your Halloween posts are excellent examinations of the subject. I'm so torn when it comes to this. I struggle with the same things you brought up -- yes, it's wonderful that the church is using Halloween to its advantage to spread the Good News and provide a safe alternative to trick-or-treating, but do we really want to promote the already-booming Halloween industry? Tough, tough call. My girls are still young enough that we can basically avoid it, but it won't be long.

I think you're a wise woman and I'm thankful you chose to post your insights and the passages that helped you form your decision. (and I'm really hoping you'll post some pictures! It seems 'trunk-or-treat' is a southern States thing; up here in Canada, I'd never heard of it until I stumbled across it in the wonderful world of blogs and Facebook!)

Tammy said...

I am right there with you in the struggle, too. But for me it's compounded by the fact that my husband doesn't share my problem with the holiday. So, I'm also struggling with not arguing with my husband but drawing the line here and there. A hard balance, sometimes!
I don't have really have a problem with church harvest parties...I think focusing on the good, the fall season, and most of all, as you said, having an outreach to the neighborhoods is a good thing.
We went to the harvest party where my girls had such a good time. (And I know they love dressing up...that part, too, I think is so fun as long as it's not scary stuff.)
I know there were probably a lot of folks who came that weren't Christians...that will perhaps be drawn back to this church as a result.
But honestly, I do share in this dilemma with you, Melanie.
And this post was beautifully written!

Roxanne said...

We "celebrate" Halloween with happy Jack-o-Lanterns, non-scary costumes, and lots of candy. The scariest movie we watch is "It's the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown." I think it is all in how you handle it as a family. There are so many holidays that started out as pagan rituals or distractions to keep people from celebrating pagan rituals that have become a part of our fabric as a people.

I hope you post some photos of your "southern" ark. :)

bensrib said...

Been there, done that, shared the struggle. I'll pray with you.