At Halloween, back in the day, (I won’t mention how many days, but it was quite a few), my great-grandmother crafted colored popcorn balls to hand out to trick-or-treaters as they came by. Admittedly, I’m the Ebenezer Scrooge of this particular “holiday”, but even so, I remember my grandmother’s careful creations for her young un’s with great fondness. Of course, you dare not bother to do that anymore; our societal/cultural changes have seen to that quite effectively. Nowadays, one is expected to spend their next month’s house payment on overpriced bagged candy to rot the children’s teeth and add to the obesity pandemic.
I told you I was the Halloween Scrooge!
Nonetheless, there are important take-aways to be gleaned. That is, we humans are primed for fear. Sometimes we even like it (reference the proliferation of the horror/zombie genre which has outstripped the ghost stories around the campfire by a long shot.) As if life weren’t scary enough without adding to my imagination…
It wasn’t always that way, however. I find interesting some of the fear-producing things that God talks about, things that linger in the background and are not nearly as in-your-face as Freddy Kruger, which actually makes them more sinister by far:
“Are you afraid of these idols? Do they terrify you? Is that why you have lied to Me and forgotten Me and My words? (1)
Wow. The idols back then were more of the stone/wood things you can see on display now at the museum. Not too scary, so what’s the deal?
I think it’s what is behind the idol, or actually, idolatry in general; that is, anything we allow to be put in place before God as, well…our god. Popularity and status, monetary resources, time use, health, relationships—the list is as endless as people are different. Any god is exacting, expects our worship and our faithfulness and our obedience. And there are consequences, depending on the god, if that fealty is maligned in any way: fear of loss. Loss of relationship, loss of money, loss of health, loss of status, ad infinitum.
But the core element, as with the horror shows, is fear. In other words, any hint of idolatry eventually leads to fear of that which we idolize. And if we’re Christians, it goes further in that our idolatry causes us to forget God’s words. Confusion. Unsteadiness.
Therefore, when I am afraid of something, could it be that I am trying to polish an idol lurking secretly in the shadows of my heart? (R-e-a-l-l-y good question.)
The good news is that Jesus still sets us free from all that. Our job is to grasp on, and let Him expose those icons, turning them into chalk dust. He can do that. Because His perfect love still casts out all fear.
Now forget the bah-humbug, and go make some popcorn balls.
- Is 57: 11 Tyndale House Publishers Inc (2008-06-01). The One Year Bible NLT (One Year Bible: Nlt Book 2) (Kindle Locations 32120-32122). Tyndale House Publishers. Kindle Edition.
- See 1 John 4:18