By the end of October, people are realising that Christmas is only a few weeks away, even if the supermarkets don’t have tinsel on the shelves. This year the shops are distracted by Halloween. When I was in Albury yesterday, the staff member watching the door at Kmart was dressed at the Grim Reaper.
(Justin Holcomb, the Academic Dean of Re:Train and adjunct professor of theology at Reformed Theological Seminary, has written a great short article on the connections between Halloween, Reformation Day and similar events entitled Luther Nails Bad Religion.)
Unlike most people, I pay some attention to the day before Halloween/Reformation Day. It’s my birthday. This year’s party has already come and gone, but there might be a small celebration with the family this evening. It has been my habit on my birthday to read Psalm 139.
Psalm 139 (NKJV)
For the Chief Musician. A Psalm of David.
1 O LORD, You have searched me and known me.
2 You know my sitting down and my rising up;
You understand my thought afar off.
3 You comprehend my path and my lying down,
And are acquainted with all my ways.
4 For there is not a word on my tongue,
But behold, O LORD, You know it altogether.
5 You have hedged me behind and before,
And laid Your hand upon me.
6 Such knowledge is too wonderful for me;
It is high, I cannot attain it.
7 Where can I go from Your Spirit?
Or where can I flee from Your presence?
8 If I ascend into heaven, You are there;
If I make my bed in hell, behold, You are there.
9 If I take the wings of the morning,
And dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea,
10 Even there Your hand shall lead me,
And Your right hand shall hold me.
11 If I say, “Surely the darkness shall fall on me,”
Even the night shall be light about me;
12 Indeed, the darkness shall not hide from You,
But the night shines as the day;
The darkness and the light are both alike to You.
13 For You formed my inward parts;
You covered me in my mother’s womb.
14 I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
Marvelous are Your works,
And that my soul knows very well.
15 My frame was not hidden from You,
When I was made in secret,
And skillfully wrought in the lowest parts of the earth.
16 Your eyes saw my substance, being yet unformed.
And in Your book they all were written,
The days fashioned for me,
When as yet there were none of them.
17 How precious also are Your thoughts to me, O God!
How great is the sum of them!
18 If I should count them, they would be more in number than the sand;
When I awake, I am still with You.
19 Oh, that You would slay the wicked, O God!
Depart from me, therefore, you bloodthirsty men.
20 For they speak against You wickedly;
Your enemies take Your name in vain.
21 Do I not hate them, O LORD, who hate You?
And do I not loathe those who rise up against You?
22 I hate them with perfect hatred;
I count them my enemies.
23 Search me, O God, and know my heart;
Try me, and know my anxieties;
24 And see if there is any wicked way in me,
And lead me in the way everlasting.
The Psalm is peotically beautiful and the latter part of verse 16 has been a particular assurance “And in Your book they all were written, The days fashioned for me, When as yet there were none of them.”
Update: As soon as I declared that no one else cares about 30 October, xkcd.com published this comic about the day before Halloween. Poor Doc Brown.
Creative Commons: Luther’s 95 Theses by Keren
October 30th from xkcd.com