I love trick or treat and its latest version trunk or treat. Trick or treat came from bribing energetic youth to not play tricks on their neighbors. Cakes, fruits, and later candies were given to encourage potential young tricksters to go ply their trade in another neighbor’s yard. Now, trunk or treat is a play on words. Most youth are not engaging in nefarious evening activities, but enjoy dressing up in costumes from cute to scary to collect treats from open trunks and truck beds decorated in the festive spirit.
The reason I love trick or treating is not because I love a good candy bribe, or even because I like dressing up as the teenage mutant ninja turtle, Raphael. But it is the day when Martin Luther exposed a trick of the church. The church was falsely leading people to believe they needed to buy God’s forgiveness.
Martin Luther rediscovered God’s grace. He found our righteousness is the gift of God to us. We do not, indeed cannot, buy, earn, or otherwise merit God’s divine favor. God’s mercy toward us was won through Jesus, his death on the cross and his resurrection from the grave. 95 statements to this effect were posted on the Wittenburg Chapel church door on October 31, 1517. Little money for the church coffers came to Rome from Germany. Martin was declared a heretic, but his ideas of God’s grace were planted in the hearts of men and women determined to follow Jesus and share his kingdom.
We are a church of the Reformation. It is in our blood to be constantly reforming, i.e. refining our perspective in
God-led ways to better reflect God’s love and kingdom in a world just as determined to do things its own way. The difference is that God’s way of Reformation gives life to all, not just the few. As you look through this missal, circle, highlight, and put on your calendar events meant to enrich your life – October 20, 28, and November 17 are worth a look. God bless you with a Happy Halloween and a Happy Reformation Day.
Keep showing and sharing the kingdom of God,