It won’t be long before the shops start filling up with stock for Hallowe’en.
The Church has always had a somewhat ambivalent approach to this festival.
To the Church it is All Hallows Eve, the day before All Saints Day which is itself the day before All Souls, remembering loved ones that have died.
We celebrate this in our church at Hellingly.
Fundamentally it is a celebration of the fact that there is more to the universe than just what we can see or feel. But of course not everyone believes that.
It is why the humanist and secularist voices say that religion is pointless and irrelevant.
The material is all and to believe in something beyond ourselves is just imagination and hysteria.
It is why they are calling for an end to all faith schools.
When we launched our bid for the new Hellingly school to be a Church school there were those who cried out that they did not want a faith school.
Thus far though the majority, even self-confessed non-religious folk have expressed support.
Now although I have not heard God directly or seen him I know he is real.
That is what faith is.
I have sometimes wished for the ‘spectacular’ evidence of God’s presence, but that is not how God often works.
I have known many bereaved over the years who have been blessed by all kinds of incidents that have given them signs that their loved ones are near.
It can be as simple as bulbs flickering at special times, or lost items suddenly turning up in unexpected ways; little incidents which in themselves are insignificant and by most dismissed as coincidence.
But to the person to whom it happens there is special significance which to them means everything.
I believe these moments to be God given moments of grace.
I also believe that the majority of people have belief, even if only very small, that there is more to life than simply what we can see.
Do I mind the items that are sold in connection with Hallowe’en?
I think there is an emphasis on the dark which is not necessarily helpful.
Evil unseen forces are real, but I for one would rather emphasise the spirits of light and the wholesomeness of being near to God and the forces for good.
Our celebration of All Souls and All Saints will celebrate the good and will be an expression of love.
If I am going to be surrounded by unseen powers then I know which I would prefer!