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Essay

Halloween: The Edge of Glory?

By November 3, 2011 No Comments
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I’ve got a confession: I love Halloween

Halloween invites us to imagine who we want to be and dress up as whatever we envision. This day gives us the permission to expand our ideas of ourselves and dress up as superheroes, royalty, animals, robots, and rock stars.     

I still remember the year I went as a punk rocker. My mom, dad, and I came together to make the costume from scratch.  A homemade costume is where the real magic happens.  Creativity is unleashed and imaginations run wild.  Halloween gives us the gift to imagine and then perform that imagination in some way.

Already/Not Yet

Just days before this past Halloween I had the privilege of hearing Rev. Shari Brink[1] preach on the “already/not yet” kingdom of God.  I’ve been through seminary and have grown up in church. The idea that the kingdom of God is already here but not yet fully present is common language to me.  But there was something different that grabbed me in Rev. Brink’s sermon.  Whether she knew it or not, it was the perfect sermon to preach on Halloween weekend.

To understand the already but not yet Kingdom of God one must use their imagination. Creativity is a necessity.  Just like on Halloween when a kid uses her/his imagination to step into the dream of a world that doesn’t fully exist, Christians use their imagination to wonder what the fully realized Kingdom of God will look like, feel like, and be like. When we witness relationships being reconciled and the church broadening her welcome to all people, we see the Kingdom of God at hand.  This inspires us to serve at our soup kitchens, work to reduce the gap between rich and poor, and care for the earth, all as we point to the Kingdom of God that is not yet fully realized.  As we use our imaginations we are propelled to serve our communities.  These are glimpses of the Kingdom of God at hand all around us. 

The Edge of Glory

In the chorus of Lady Gaga’s pop hit “Edge of Glory,” she sings:

I’m on the edge of glory, and I’m hanging on a moment of truth
Out on the edge of glory, and I’m hanging on a moment with you
I’m on the edge, the edge, the edge, the edge, the edge, the edge, the edge,
I’m on the edge of glory, and I’m hanging on a moment with you
I’m on the edge with you.

I’m pretty sure Lady Gaga isn’t thinking of the already/not yet Kingdom of God when she sings this song but I know that it is precisely what I think of every time I hear it on my iPod.  We are on the edge of glory.  We hang onto these truthful moments of the Kingdom of God right here, right now, on this edge of glory.  Yet we also know the Kingdom of God is not yet fully realized.  So we hang on to the edge of glory and we hang onto this moment with God, with humankind, with the earth, and we creatively imagine what the kingdom of God fully realized looks like.  When we see the picture of glory that is yet to come we are inspired to work for it here, today, on this edge of glory. 

This is why I love Halloween

Because for one day everyone has the permission to be creative and to imagine himself/herself in whatever world they can create or concoct.  Imagination and creativity are essentials for Christian faithfulness.  We must be able to dream about what the Kingdom of God fully realized looks like as we hang onto this moment of truth on the edge of glory.

So dream away. Imagine. Create. And may your dreams, imagination, and creativity inspire you to enact the Kingdom of God in your neighborhood and city. Because Halloween or not, we are on the edge of glory.

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[1] Shari is the Executive Minister at Marble Collegiate Church, NYC. And she is awesome.

Jes Kast

The Reverend Jes Kast is an ordained Minister of Word and Sacrament and serves West End Collegiate Church as their Associate Pastor.

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