By Jeremy Armstrong
Article Fact Source: here on Wikipedia.
Halloween is also known as All Halllows’ Eve—basically the day before All Hallows’ Day (in the same way Christmas eve is the day before Christmas). All Hallows day and its eve (since early Christian festivals also had vigils the night before the holiday) was an early Christian holiday set aside as a time to celebrate the past saints and the recently departed. And it is still celebrated in many churches around the world, sometimes referred to as All Saint’s Day.
As you well know, at the height of their power when the Romans took over a country, the Christians of the time came in and attempted to convert the conquered people. Often the local people had their own special days and seasons, and the Roman Christians found it difficult to get the locals to stop celebrating these non-Christian holidays. So the Christians often simply let them keep the day, but gave it a new Christian theme and focus.
Most people point to the Celts who lived in the British Isles as the originators of many of the things we associate with Halloween today. The special day that these early Irish and Scotch people celebrated was called Samhain (pronounced sow-in), which is Old Irish for “Summer’s End.” Basically it was a time between seasons when spirits (or fairies) are more active and have easier access to this world. Candles would be lit, offerings were left out for the sprits, and eventually people began to wear disguises so that these specters would be tricked into believing that they, too, were ghosts.
These days amongst those who celebrate it, kids run around asking for candy, churches have harvest festivals, and adults tap their inner child and dress up like superheroes.
Whatever you feel about Halloween, there is possibly a good question to ask this weekend: What happened to All Hallows’ Day? Or better: Is there ever a time in your worship service that you deal with death in a healthy God-honoring manner? Because if it’s not happening in your church, where is it happening? This Sunday is the day many Christians around the world celebrate All Saints Day—when they honor and remember those who have passed away.
Every person in your congregation has experienced the loss of a loved one. In the traditional Church year, All Saints Day is the day to worship God even while acknowledging this very human reality. Oftentimes names are listed or read from a bulletin or special prayers are said. But there are other ways worship leaders can help people recognize the presence of death and the ever-present grief that is just beneath the surface of any gathering of people. Here are some ideas you could try, and below is our All Hallows’ Day setlist of songs for your service of worship this Sunday.
Some ideas include:
Honor Wall: Have a place where people can write the names of their loved ones and post them
Start a forum or a Facebook page: Let people share the names or a short message for loved ones
Slide show: If your congregation had a common loss this year of a member, celebrate them with a slide show put to one of the songs below
Use a song that is real with life and death: Set aside time in your service of worship to deal with death and the celebration of life in the context of the risen savior.
All Hallows’ Day Setlist
(Songs that point to life beyond this present reality, and/or are openly deal with difficulties in this life, pointing to the only one who can truly save.)
“Because He Lives,” Bill Gaither
“Come Alive,” David Crowder*Band
“From Every Stormy Wind That Blows,” Brothers McCLurg
“Glorious Ruins,” Hillsong LIVE
“Heaven Song,” Phil Wickham
“I Can Only Imagine,” MercyMe
“I Need You Now,” Matt Redman
“I Will Rise,” Chris Tomlin
“Jesus Will Meet You There” Steven Curtis Chapman
“My Hope,” Matt Redman
“Oceans (Where Feet May Fail),” Hillsong United
“Reason to Sing,” All Sons & Daughters
“Save a Place for Me” Matthew West
“The Cross Stands,” Worship Central
“When My Heart Is Torn Asunder” Phil Wickham
“When the Stars Burn Down,” Jennie Lee Riddle
“With Hope,” Steven Curtis Chapman