I took a break in my 31 Days of Autumn, but it was a much needed break as I attended a leadership seminar retreat with my husband. I’ll share more about it after this series. This is my final post about engaging in the culture of Autumn holidays, but not the last of my Autumn series. I’ve got some fun stuff prepared after this one.
I shared some different cultures and holidays in former posts such as Samhain, All Saints Day, Protestant Harvest, and the traditional and very modern Halloween. Yesterday was such perfect timing for this series, because I was able to have a sweet conversation with a Catholic sister about All Saints Day. There is a rather large Dia Del Las Muertos festival not too far from me that I plan to attend.
I used to be in an isolated Christian lifestyle, and for a time it was needed. We needed to get a solid foundation for our lives and those years were useful for the growth we have experienced since then. My husband and I have always felt called to live a missionary life. I grew up in a biker home that put me in the position to feel ‘at home’ among people like this, this, and this. By the way, I love people who are different. They always teach me something new. I feel more comfortable around people who remind me of my childhood than I do in a traditional church congregation.
God led my husband and I into a mission ministry that reached people facing prison time and those coming out. We spent over ten years of our lives in the trenches with folks like this, this, and spent plenty of time with folks like this.
“ I was in prison and you came to me.” ~Jesus
Prison and recovery ministry isn’t for everyone. Biker ministry isn’t for everyone. I don’t expect everyone to jump into a ministry that isn’t for them, but what I do hope to find is Christian support for those who ARE called to these communities. Our mission lifestyle is one we cherish and the people God guides us to are PRECIOUS to us. We are faithful in our work to LOVE them as Christ loves us. Let me elaborate on what I mean by ‘our work to love them’. It is easy to love these folks. It’s not so much ‘work’ to love them, it’s work to battle against judgmental, impatient, and critical Christians while we’re loving these dear people.
It never ceases to amaze me to hear a Christian go on a rampage against us when they see us being kind to people who are not dressed in ‘church attire’. It seems to really boggle their minds why we aren’t hounding folks to hurry up and change their clothes and pledge allegiance to a church. This is the kind of behavior I would expect to see in a new Christian, but more often I’m seeing it in people who have claimed to be Christians their whole lives.
A missionary does not travel to a distant land, set up their soap box and start condemning the people and demand them to change and ‘get in church’. If they tried this they would be met with hostility and defense because that tactic is belittling, arrogant, ignorant, and abusive. Imagine how you’d feel if someone from another region walked into your church and began doing that to your congregation.
Now what does all this have to do with my Autumn holiday series? It’s the foundation of teaching you why I spend time with people who are so profoundly different than the Christian status quo. I’m called to a certain demographic of people and it’s love that is drawing me to them. I know it’s God’s calling for me and I’m thrilled to participate with the Holy Spirit by loving people.
So when you see me writing about my interaction at a Samhain ritual, an All Saints Day Mass, or even a Dia Del Las Muertos festival don’t judge me, belittle me, or condemn me for loving people God has called me to. Don’t shun me or excommunicate me from fellowship because I’m not performing the same type of evangelism many Christians are used to seeing in church. And please, please, please, do not attack the very people that God has called me to and expect that I’m going to side with that kind of behavior.
As I said above, the ‘work’ I have to deal with is more about how I have to stand up to immature Christians and protect the people God has put in my life to love.
With all that said, here is how we will celebrate the Autumn holidays:
- We will honor our dearly departed loved ones by placing a Samhain style memorial on the table.
- We will attend the Dia Del Las Muertos festival and engage in their culture and tradition. Prayerfully we can meet some folks and develop relationships with them.
- We will attend a Mass at the local Catholic Church.
- We will participate in a Protestant Harvest Festival.
- And we will go trick or treating and offer candy to the little werewolves, vampires, and princesses who grace our doorsteps with their adorable little faces.
This is how we honor Christ by engaging in our culture. We love our neighbors as ourselves.