Here I am, writing about a secular holiday that has pagan roots and runs counter to a Biblical belief system.
Take a deep breath!
Being on mission for Jesus means that we walk as Jesus walked and go places that run counter to what we believe. Halloween is a holiday that offers any missional Christian the ability to connect with neighbors without leaving the front yard. Can it get any easier than people coming to your house and knocking on your door?
I wonder, what would Jesus do with Halloween? What should I do?
Here is what I think.
First, Jesus would have the best candy in the neighborhood. In John 2, Jesus made the best wine, and that was for drunk partiers at a wedding. How much better would candy be, especially given to children?
So, no more penny candy for my neighbors. No, come to my place and get the good stuff.
When I was a kid, my friends and I knew all the houses that had great candy. Sometimes we went back in different costumes to get more.
How important is it for you to love your neighbors so much that you have them coming back for more? Just asking.
Second, remember that in many cases the parents are standing on the sidewalk freezing as their kids are at your door. What would Jesus do? Well, He might have something warm for parents to drink.
The last few years my family has offered warm apple cider to parents. It’s been a great success. Most chilled parents rush up for a free cup, and often we make conversation like, “So, where do you live?” “How old are your children?” “Where do they go to school?”
You can learn so much about those in your neighborhood just through offering a cup of cider in Jesus’ name.
Third, if the weather allows, place yourself outside as folks come by. It’s very inviting, and your posture says, “This is a safe place.” We are putting up a tent covering so people can get out of the weather and hang out if they wish. One last day for the outdoor chairs.
Fourth, be nice and encourage others. Remember, Jesus did not try to “one up” anyone, but people were attracted to Him because He genuinely cared about others.
We try to do the same thing. We turn on all the lights and seek others to partner with us on the street. If people are going to use this day to walk around and get candy, well, we are going to tell them to make it great. Have fun.
Fifth, would Jesus dress up? Well, that’s a deep theological question. My guess is no. I don’t dress up either. I don’t need to. But I take the time to engage the kids on how they look, who they are supposed to be (I’m not really in the know on cultural icons these days) and I let them know what I think. You might be surprised how kids react when you tell them what they are wearing is cool. A little affirmation goes a long way.
If you live in a neighborhood with no kids, visit some friends who have kids and go with them. Go and meet families. And while you are walking, pray for your neighbors. Pray for the children. Pray for the parents. Ask the Lord to help you connect with those who live near you for the sake of the Gospel and the cause of Jesus.
Pray for marriages to grow strong. Pray for lonely and isolated people. Pray for those in need and for their health. Pray for folks to connect and support one another. Can we agree to pray?
I believe Jesus has called us to be salt and light. This Halloween, let your lights shine and your words be salted with the grace of Jesus. First Peter 1:22 reminds us, “Love one another deeply, from the heart.” Have fun!
Jon Weiner is a community engagement pastor at Southeast Christian Church.