‘Horror’ is not my bag or preferred reading or TV viewing, however it seemed timely that I should recently be cycling, with son-in-law Gary, through Cruden Bay at a time when bats, skeletons and pumpkins haunted homes, shops and streets.
On the Scottish east coast, 25 miles north of Aberdeen, lies Cruden Bay, the picturesque pocket village, where Stoker Bram holidayed with family. Here he found his ‘inner Dracula’ while wandering the rugged, jagged coastline, hanging out around the evocative ruins of Slains Castle, residing and writing at the local Kilmarnock Arms Hotel.
Though ‘vampires’ were in eastern European folklore from over a thousand years, Stoker’s fanged fiend signalled a tidal wave of ink and imagination that spawned, spewed, and spread a vast array of such ghoulish wraiths. Just north of Trump’s famous golf course I saw no sign of ‘Buffy the vampire slayer’ or ‘Count Duckula’, plenty of cawing seagulls, munching sheep, and mooing coos, but no residual evidence of a menacing nemesis other than a stiff breeze in our face.
This is not to deny the existence of evil, and the choice between good and evil which runs through each, and every one of us, human beings. We all have such potential for good and helping others but also, as demonstrated daily on our news channels, sadly such tendencies towards the demonising of others and deepening of divisions. There’s lots of fun to be had around Halloween, but amidst all the ‘dressing up’ and ‘foul fables’ beware ‘the spiritual enemy’ which comes disguised as an ‘angel of light’. Its intent is: to undermine your identity as beloved child of God, to deny your need for Jesus and His Spirit, and to make enemies of your family, neighbours, friends, and colleagues. In dying for us Jesus absorbed and swallowed such separating sin, pride, hatred, evil intentions, and death, to return with forgiveness, peace, hope, and the power to love, forgive, heal, and care like Jesus.
A Fight to the Finish (Ephesians 6:11-18 / MSG)
This is no weekend war that we’ll walk away from and forget about in a couple of hours. This is for keeps, a life-or-death fight to the finish against the Devil and all his angels.
Be prepared. You’re up against far more than you can handle on your own. Take all the help you can get, every weapon God has issued, so that when it’s all over but the shouting you’ll still be on your feet. Truth, righteousness, peace, faith, and salvation are more than words. Learn how to apply them. You’ll need them throughout your life. God’s Word is an indispensable weapon. In the same way, prayer is essential in this ongoing warfare. Pray hard and long. Pray for your brothers and sisters. Keep your eyes open. Keep each other’s spirits up so that no one falls behind or drops out…”
This week we have our church kids’ ‘Pumpkin Heroes’ party able to dress up as superheroes and enjoy great nosh and fun. Wonder Woman, Superman, Spiderman, Batman, and many more Marvel heroes and sheroes will be on display, and for sure the true superhero ‘Jesus’ will be integrally invisibly involved. No need to dress up with sandals, kafir and robe, rather each of us can “put on the wardrobe God’s picked out for us: compassion, kindness, humility, quiet strength, discipline, even-tempered, content with second place, quick to forgive an offense, forgiving quickly and completely as the God forgave us. And regardless of what else we put on, wearing love: our basic, all-purpose garment that we’ve never to be without.” (Colossians 3:12-14 / MSG) This is the ‘everyday wear’ God gifts you and me!