23 October 2013

Holy Reverie: 23 October 2013

Holy Reverie is the weekly clergy column in Calvary's electronic newsletter, the e-Pistle.  Subscribe today!

Halloween is almost upon us.  Store shelves are packed with candy, the television is teeming with monsters (even more than usual), and the kids are bouncing off the walls.  Calvary is celebrating the season with a Trunk-or-Treat and Monster Mash next Wednesday, October 30, beginning at 5:15.  I hope you and your favorite little ghouls and gobilns can join the fun - admission is one can of food to benefit MIFA.

When not monster-mashing, one of my favorite late October traditions is listening to Orson Welles' 1938 radio dramatization of "The War of the Worlds."  The production is so delightful and deliciously scary.  Moreover, I can easily understand how almost one million people believed the show was real!  The public radio program Radio Lab produced a documentary about the broadcast a few years ago: fascinating stuff.

Besides the obvious entertainment and historic value, "The War of the Words," the 1898 H.G. Wells novel or Welles' radio play, is a compelling meditation on fear.  Some characters run in hysterical terror from the alien threat, some stand the post and do their duty, while others run towards the fearsome creatures, wanting to learn more or lusting after their power.  How do we in 2013 react to fear?  Does fear govern how we lead our lives?  How is our post-modern society shaped by fear?  

William Wrigley, Jr., founder of the eponymous chewing gum company and past owner of the Chicago Cubs, once said, "a man's doubts and fears are his worst enemies."  While wisdom and caution are virtues, when they morph into fear, we risk prejudice, insularity, stuntedness, and ultimately violence.  

As people of faith, we can engage the world in a different way.  We can either hide behind our fear or step out in faith.  Faith assumes the goodness in the other, faith trusts in friendship and community, faith knows that all will be well.  At the end of "Worlds," (SPOILER ALERT!) the aliens are defeated, not by the ingenuity of humanity or some individual's heroism - all of that fails, but by the tiny microbes who share our earth and occasionally give us the sniffles.  Isn't God smart?

Have fun this Halloween, eat some candy, give someone a good scare.  But, as All Saints' Day dawns, perhaps we can let go of our fears and instead dare to have faith.  

No comments: