Dear Friends in Christ,
This weekend we’ll mark Halloween by hosting Trunk-or-Treat on Sunday afternoon. We’ll have cars decked out and share candy with all who come. The observance of Allhallowtide precedes the church’s celebration of All Saints’ Day on November 1st.
The Book of Occasional Services provides a service on All Hallows’ Eve. It begins with the Prayer for Light, and the readings include the Witch of Endor (1 Samuel 28:3-25). This scripture passage is one of my favorites. Here we have this incredible event between King Saul, a witch (or a necromancer), and the dead prophet Samuel. King Saul needs information to defeat the Philistines, but God has stopped talking to him because of his disobedience and rebellion against God. Instead of repenting and turning to God, Saul decides to seek answers from the dead, which God had strictly forbidden. This passage is spooky because there’s nothing more frightening (to me) than the silence of God (this is the very premise for Shūsaku Endō’s book, Silence – adapted as film by the great Martin Scorcese).
When God seems silent, we fear that God has rejected us. As minutes turned to hours of waiting in the emergency room, we desperately desired to hear from God. Instead, crickets. Amid a crisis in our family, we long for the closeness and tenderness of God. But often we are met with silence. When things are upended at work or in our community of faith, we want clarity and certainty. We get neither. Confused as to why God would choose now, of all times, not to respond, we turn to our own understanding and efforts to right the ship.
It is in those very moments that we need to remember that though God is sometimes silent, God is never absent. What are we to do when we pray to God – especially when we’re in desperate need – and we’re met with God’s silence? Perhaps we can get our cue from the Psalmist who wrote, “Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you in turmoil within me? Hope in God; for I shall again praise him, my salvation and my God” (Psalm 42:11).
Let us continue to place our hope in God. Let us keep seeking God and telling God what frightens us and disconcerts us. Let us remember what God has done for us in the past. May it remind us that though God seems silent, or we do not perceive it, God is constantly making all things new.
In the twilight of All Hallow’s Eve, may God give us new eyes to perceive the new things that now spring forth.
Father Santi +