October is usually a happy time for me—my grandchildren, Daniel and Carly, get all excited about Halloween. They spend weeks beforehand discussing their costumes and dreaming of all that candy.
More than anything else, though, they love pumpkins. And not just any pumpkins. They wanted the ones grown by their great-aunt Margaret. What would my grand-kids do this first Halloween after she died?
I liked to joke that my sister Margaret had a soft spot for those kids—the compost pile in her backyard. That’s where the pumpkins grew. And she and the kids tended to them, slipping an upside-down pie pan under each one so it wouldn’t rot sitting on the ground.
Whenever I picked up my grandchildren and took them to visit Margaret, they’d barely say hello before bursting out into the yard to see what was going on in their “pumpkin patch.” They harvested them and used the big ones for carving into jack-o’-lanterns.
I didn’t know why or how pumpkins grew in a compost heap, of all places. Margaret never planted seeds. Maybe she’d thrown an old pumpkin out there one year. She had a green thumb, though. She could have dug a hole, dropped in a worm and ended up growing a rose bush.
I envied her gardening skills. If only I had inherited Margaret’s abilities after she passed away.
Halloween without Margaret’s pumpkins, Lord? I prayed one night. I wished there were some other way to make the day special. To let Daniel and Carly know their great-aunt’s spirit lived on.
Next day I went to visit the kids. I can help them with their costumes, I thought. That’ll be something, at least. “Hi!” I said, opening the door.
As soon as I walked in they said the quickest hello before shouting, “Grandma! Grandma! Come and see!”
“Just come!” they said, grabbing my hands and dragging me with them. We went outside. There, right on the side of the house, were half-a-dozen pumpkins. All plump and orange, with vines trailing everywhere. Growing in a spot where nothing had ever been planted.
I said, “You know what Aunt Margaret would do if she were here…” We all raced to the kitchen to get some pie pans. The biggest and best got turned into jack-o’-lanterns. The rest decorated the front porch. And they lasted for months, an autumn-long reminder for my two little pumpkin patch kids.
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Can you imagine wishing someone “Happy Reformation Day!” on October 31? That other holiday– the one with pumpkins, trick-or-treating, witches and candy–seems to take pride of place.
And yet, if I had to choose one of the two holidays for its life-changing importance, its transforming effect on how people worship, pray and look at Scripture, well, Reformation Day wins hands down.
Maybe I should dress up as Martin Luther this year, wear a monk’s habit, and sing one of his landmark hymns, like “A Mighty Fortress Is Our God.” Exactly 499 years ago on October 31, he changed the world.
If the two holidays have anything in common I would propose it’s ghosts–or at least something frightening–and a door, although not quite like the door your average trick-or-treater knocks on.
First the fright. The young Martin Luther, son of a prosperous German businessman, had attended university and was just beginning his study of the law in 1505, when he was caught on horseback in a terrifying thunderstorm, a bolt of lightning barely missing him.
Luther prayed that if he was delivered from the storm, he would become a monk. He survived and true to his word, within two weeks he entered a monastery.
Now for the door. By this time, in 1517, Martin Luther was not only a monk but a learned scholar in Wittenberg, a professor with considerable command of the Bible and theology. What bothered him at the time was the selling of indulgences by the Church.
Selling indulgences was a relatively new practice of raising money by promising salvation. As the monk sent to Germany claimed in a rather aggressive marketing campaign, “As soon as the coin in the coffer rings, the soul from purgatory springs.”
Martin Luther objected. Strenuously. On theological grounds and also on political grounds. Why should good Germans give their money to help the pope rebuild St. Peter’s in Rome?
He wrote up his now famous 95 theses, or rather his objections, and posted them on the door of All Saints Church in Wittenberg.
It all might have ended there. A religious squabble in a backwater town. But those objections of his, eloquently put, spread like wildfire across Germany and the rest of Europe.
Martin Luther ended up leaving the monastery, defending his beliefs, getting married, translating the Bible out of Latin and into the vernacular so that people could read it. Without totally intending it, he started a new branch of Christianity.
It all started on October 31.
A lot of negative things could be said about him–his anti-Semitic writings would be used and misused in horrible and tragic ways. But no doubt about it, he was a brilliant man who changed the world…I might not be reading Scripture in my own language were it not for him. I certainly wouldn’t be singing magnificent hymns like “A Mighty Fortress Is Our God.”
Halloween or Reformation Day? Maybe we’ll find a way to celebrate the two together. In the meanwhile, I’ll be singing those words about that “bulwark never failing, our helper he amid the flood…”
Happy Reformation Day.
PS: Some scholars argue that the 95 theses were never posted on the church door. No matter. There is no doubt about their author or their effect.
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This “WITCH” – – with her same basic “OUT-FIT” – – but coming around for another year – – just to see if she can get her “Dress-Up ACT” – – good enough to scare someone?
If you ran into this “WITCH” – – would you feel scared? Do you think that she grew that long nose – – with a wart on it – – for telling too many “tall tales” outside of school?
When it comes to “FAIRY TALES” – – there was a little boy – – that would tell “tall tales” – – so often that his nose grew and grew – – so that everyone would know – – he told “tall” stories – – so wild – – that you just could not believe him – – and looking at this old “WITCH” – – she may just have that same problem – – too many tall tales!
Each year for Halloween – – way back and when – – I wore a different outfit for this “NIGHT” for collecting treats – – and each year… I would use a different broom – – – each year waiting to see if I could get that broom to give me a free ride? Do you know that this old “WITCH” – – trying a new broom – – just to see if any had any magic – – to give an old “WITCH” — a FREE ride through the “night time” skies – – – and always ended up using a travelling vehicle – called the automobile!
This “WITCH” – – has problems with the “automobile” – – she was told way back and when – – that there was an “automatic automobile” – – but when she tried it out… it crashed! – Find it and read that story – – you will understand more about this ole “WITCH” – – And do not laugh… too loud – – I will hear you – – and just may join in with you!
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This was on radio station 91.5 FM – – today and worth hearing … about how the TIMES were for those in WWII – in GERMANY – – we do need to remember the past – – so as to improve the future!
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“This sure is a “double exposure” if ever I saw one!
Sometimes… you can get carried away with doing some silly stuff – – like making a “costume” for Halloween – – in hopes to WIN a PRIZE – – and dress up or maybe even in a crazy ridiculous fashion – – in such a way – – you would not want to be caught dead – – looking so ridiculous!
Either this PHOTO is in some kind of double exposure — or a shadow — just to make one give a second thought about what they are seeing – – as I am now looking at this – – can not remember where this was – – but someone wanted to take a quick photo – as I do not even remember where this place is.
When I made this out-fit – – in order to go to some place that was going to give a prize for “best” costumes – – – sure did not want something that everyone would be wearing – – so made my own cape, hat to match cape and that very special black gown – and my own special black bag to match – – how do you like that small broom to fly around on???
It may not show too well – – but I even have a very long NOSE – with a wart on it – – just for a good profile PHOTO. The hat was also made from scratch – – with left over materials – – and just the right size to fit over my wig.
With my dancing partner – – we were able to win a couple of prizes – – as I also made his costume – – he was dressed as… DRACULA – – and could he dance up a storm!
“My wish for all… is to be able to… DANCE UP a STORM – – at your HALLOWEEN PARTY!”
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This day in OCTOBER – – is the most spectacular – – the colors of everything are just changing… into the colors of every beautiful color possible – – and just a blowing in to the wind – – since the “SEASON” is in a change mode – – one that makes you – – STOP – – and THINK about how wonderful our CREATOR is… to give to us – – this beautiful “SEASON of CHANGE” – – just a day so beautiful – – and when one stops to think – – “WOW” – – and… when we get to HEAVEN – – all will be so spectacular – – we can not even envision the surprise in store for those of us – – who will get to be there and soon to enjoy forever!
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