Reformation Day and Halloween
Proper 25
October 28, 2012

Reformation Day and Halloween
by David von Schlichten


In the ELCA, on October 28 we will celebrate the beginning of the Protestant Reformation. The day is not for Roman Catholic-bashing but for rejoicing over the saving power of God's grace. We are justified by grace through faith, thanks be to Christ.

The day is also for ecumenism. In the sixteenth century, the Church split into Roman Catholic and Protestant. Over the past fifty years or so, we Christians of all sorts have recognized the need for greater unity among us. We are to reform toward durable ecumenism.

One essential component of this reforming activity is learning more about each other and ourselves so that we can clearly articulate our own positions as well as value the positions of others. It is not helpful ecumenically simply to say, "We're all the same, all trying to get to the same place." We different types of Christians are NOT all the same, and, indeed, part of the excitement of the Church is in understanding and learning from those differences, not glossing over them.


This holiday can be fun precisely because we Christians know that God defeats evil. We can have fun getting scared on Halloween because we are confident that, ultimately, God defeats that which deeply scares us: sin, death, the devil.

Indeed--and here we can unite Reformation and Halloween--we can have fun with fear on Halloween because, through Christ's death and resurrection, we experience the perfect love that casts out all fear.


St. James Evangelical Lutheran Church,
Youngstown, PA