Halloween for those haunted by the holy.

October 31, 2013

It’s the eve of anticipation dancing_skeletonsof a festival
in which we gratefully remember and celebrate those dead
whom we have loved and learned from.
And who, by the grace of God,

inhabit our imaginations and the rhythms of our living so powerfully

that it is as though they are with us still.
They haunt us, not with fear,
but with the witness and whispers of wisdom, love and courage.

They reassure us that our lives may end at any age
and yet be known as complete, fruitful and honourable,
for life is not counted by an accruement of days;
each life ‘counts’ as only – yet wholly – and as holy – as one.

‘…the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body’ (Apostles Creed)

Our family has a tradition of hearing the stories of our personal saints, friends and family who have died, and also our public saints: public figures who have influenced us and stand as an example of holy, if complicated, living. We remember the defiance of Rosa Parks, the creative madness of Rich Mullins, the prolificity of Hildegaard, the imprecise passion of Keith Green, the subversion of Tyndale.

These ‘saints’, neither the public nor the personal,  were not perfect or easy people. All the more encouragement to us in our lives, which are scaffolded in anxieties, insincerity, madness, depression,  suppression, uncertainty, beligerence, laziness, awkwardness, flatness, folly.

Even more precious are the saints we have known in our everyday lives. Who we have lived with, sat in church, around the dinner table, on the beach, in class and by the bedside. To be sure, it’s a bittersweet thing to remember. For some of these names, though there is real joy in having shared their lives,  the sadness and pain is still fresh, our cheeks barely dry from the tears of grief. And others, though years have passed, the pain of loss is deep and present still.

Remembering (among others)

Saint Christina of Nunawading
Saint Ed, Val and Bill of Silvan
Saint Janet of North Fitzroy
Saint Peter of Gippsland
Saint Geoffrey of Macleod
Saint Ron of Montrose
Saint Ross of Westgate
Saint Ellie of Moffat Beach

Who ‘helpfully’ haunts you, reminding you to live well from the past, in the moment, and mindful that there is yet much to come?

You, too are welcome name your saints here, in remembrance of them and with intention to heed their call to live truly and holy in grace.


  1. Saint Heyltje of Toorak
    Saint Joseph of Armadale,
    Saint Nadine of Windsor
    Saint Brennan of New York
    Saint Lucy of Armadale

  2. St. Warren of Cowra
    St. Harry of Donvale

  3. Saint Phyllis of Redpath who gathered students around her and bubbled joy all the time
    Saint David of Bristol who preached his heart out because he’d learned so much and wanted to share it.
    Saint Jean of Failand who loved through cooking and sharing food
    Saint Phil who taught me to ask ‘what can we do about this now?’
    Saint John who taught me that questions are more precious than answers
    …seeing as we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses…

  4. Beth, may I quote some of the above in a workshop I am leading on Valuing the Ages of Experience, please. Very evocative, very relevant

    • Hi Christine, very welcome.

  5. […] Halloween for those haunted by the holy (Beth Barnett)  – a great post about bringing All Saints Day and Halloween together… […]

  6. Saint Elizabeth

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