Summary: This is a sermon done on Halloween/Reformation Sunday. Dressed as a pirate. Oh joy!
1 John 1:5-10 5 This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all. 6 If we claim to have fellowship with him yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live by the truth. 7 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin. 8 If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. 10 If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word has no place in our lives.
“Trick or Treat”
[Come out dressed as Captain Jack Sparrow]
Happy Halloween! Oh… there was one more thing I was supposed to tell you… oh right!!! Happy Reformation Sunday. Now… you might be wondering… what a pirate… has to do with Reformation Sunday… and the answer is… I do not know. You will have to ask your… very odd I’ve heard… pastor about that one.
I love dressing up! When I was a young boy, I would plan out my costumes and look forward to Halloween for weeks and weeks. And when Halloween came around, getting into that costume was such a big deal. It was so exciting.
One of the most memorable costumes from my childhood, was the Halloween I dressed up as Rambo! Kids… you can ask your parents who Rambo is later. I had it going on that Halloween! I had the torn muscle shirt... I had the camo warpaint… I had the red headband… I even had some fake blood smeared on me. It was the total package. Now… you have to remember I grew up in North Dakota… and since it was October 31st… that meant it was 20 degrees outside with a foot of snow… so my costume was finished off with a big fluffy winter coat… big fluffy winter gloves… and big fluffy snow pants. By the time I was actually out trick or treating… I looked more like the Stay Puffed Marshmallow man than I looked like Rambo. But it didn’t matter… that night… I was the killing machine known as Rambo!
That’s the thing about costumes… they change you inside and out! It’s kind of like last night when I was trying on my costume as Captain Jack Sparrow from Disney’s “Pirate’s of the Caribbean,” Eli took one look at me… and started slowly backing up. In his mind… I wasn’t his daddy. The whole time I was in costume he just clung on to mommy and would have nothing to do with me. You know… I really should wear this costume more often.
But that’s one of the great things about dressing up… you can completely become someone else! You’re no longer you. And it takes some of the pressure off… it makes it easier sometimes. Sometimes… it’s easier to put on a mask then deal with who we really are.
It’s not that odd… really… is it? It’s something we’ve been doing for a very long time. Sometimes it’s just too hard dealing with who we are… what we’ve done. It’s just easier to pretend to be something we aren’t. It’s exactly the way it was in the church 500 years ago when the church Reformation took place. You see… there was a big problem. In order to get to heaven… they believed that you really had to deserve it… and the only ones who deserved it… were those who were perfect.
Now… quick poll… how many of you here in church today are perfect… have never done anything wrong. That statistic has been the same since Adam and Eve. Since no-one deserved it… there developed three kind of people in the church… 1) those who pretended to be perfect 2) those who worked their behinds off trying to be perfect or trying to pay for their sins and 3) those who wrote a really big check to the church to be certified “perfect.”
Martin Luther… did not pretend to be perfect… nor did he ever write a really big check to the church… so guess which category he fell into. He is one who worked his behind off trying to be perfect and trying to ask for forgiveness for every little sin he committed. In fact, one day while he was in the confessional… the priest said “stop wasting my time and come back when you have a ‘real’ sin to confess!” But Luther lived in constant fear of hell and judgment, and became depressed as he failed time and time again.