Friday, October 20, 2017

A Halloween Haunting

The latest in my small town moving adventures has me in a suburb of Pittsburgh rich with village charm and grand estates. Early 1900's Victorians and 1890's Colonials abound on shaded streets lined with lush landscapes. Every neighborhood block in this little town is a feast for the eyes. At every turn there is a new reason to "ohh" and "awe." From impressive hand-laid stone walls to the unique woodworking framing stately front doors, each home displays the skills of a fine craftsman and decades of a homeowner's tender love and care.
With autumn's arrival I anticipated the beauty of the landscape transformed by the changing colors. I imagined the homes draped in gorgeous shades of orange, yellow and red. But when October came a very different kind of gore transformed this quaint village town: Halloween gore.
As it turns out, this town just so happens to love all things that scream All Hallows Eve, especially scary, gory scenes replete with open graves, fake blood, flying witches and vampires. Nearly every street has a few gigantic spiders hanging from homeowner's trees and windows are decked out with orange and black lights illuminating spooky scenes.There are so many tomb stones in garden beds it's a wonder there are any living residents left. In preparation for Halloween night the homes and landscapes I've admired have been transformed into frightful sites designed to scare and terrify.
The displays of death and darkness have draped an eerie pall over my daily neighborhood walks. Even though I know that the blood is just paint on a bed sheet, the gory scenes still disquiet my soul. The plastic tombs and empty graves taunt me and haunt me with the one death that still causes me to fear: the death of my own will.
The death of my will petrifies me. I am haunted by the very site of the tomb stone inscribed with my dreams and desires. With white knuckles, I've been holding on for dear life to my will that yearns to be made well and whole. Even while my body has been wasting away, my spirit has been afraid to surrender its own self-imposed will, lay down and die.
But this will of mine to be made physically healthy and well is failing fast. My way to be healed has been gasping for its last breath and not even life support can save it now. My spiritual lungs are giving out. I simply cannot run in fear any longer.
In the cemetery that is my will's final resting place there is a grave marked out bearing my name and Christ bids me to come lay down in it and die. In a place called Golgotha, Jesus invites me to surrender to the tomb of my will and ways.
Laid to rest in Christ's lush bed of redemption and grace I am covered with the peace of God's eternal providence. Hidden with Christ, I am freed from the haunting of the grave. By uniting with my Savior in His death I am risen again to eternal life in the center of God's everlasting will.
Death where is your victory?
Death where is your sting? 
Because Jesus is alive death has been made powerless. The empty tomb of the risen Lord has defeated death once and for all in order that I may live eternally unafraid in the peaceful presence of the everlasting King.

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