October 28, 2015
My household loves Halloween, and so our readings today are quite seasonal. There were lots of superstitions in the Bible, especially surrounding the ark of the covenant which was used to symbolize the Lord’s presence in battle against Israel’s enemies. I didn’t know the Bible story of Ichabod, but of course he is included in our readings since he has such a Halloween-sounding name. There was a great blog on Ichabod, which is available on the research and readings page, but here is my favorite part:
During the holiday season last year I was feeling discouraged and unhappy. I reached out in a simple prayer to God for an answer that would “lift the shade of gloom” (Mary Baker Eddy,Christian Science Hymnal, No. 298) that had fallen over me. A few minutes later, as I was walking by the TV, I felt led to turn it on. It was a religious program, and the first thing I heard was a man asking, “Are you feeling dejected, unhappy, discouraged?” Of course that caught my attention, and then he answered it with “Well, you have the Ichabod thinking.”Now, that really enticed me to continue to listen, as the only Ichabod I knew was from The Legend of Sleepy Hollow and I was sure he was not talking about that Halloween story. The man went on to explain that in the fourth chapter of First Samuel in the Bible there’s the story of a battle between the Philistines and the Israelites. A woman, who was about to give birth, had lost her husband, brother-in-law, and father-in-law in this battle—but the most devastating part to her was that the Philistines had stolen the ark of the covenant, which the Israelites believed was where God resided. When her son was born, she named him Ichabod, which means “the glory is departed from Israel” (I Samuel 4:21). She felt the glory had departed from Israel because the ark had been taken away.This speaker went on to compare this woman to another woman and the birth of her son. Of course it was Mary and the birth of Jesus, which fulfilled the prophecy, “They shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us” (Matthew 1:23). And this birth was filled with the glory of God as the angels sang, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men” (Luke 2:14). What a contrast between the two births and their subsequent purposes—and how wonderful to know that God is always with us as we hold to the Emmanuel thought and not to the Ichabod thought.
Now, doesn’t going from Ichabod to Emmanuel nicely transition us from one holiday season to the next!
Later comment –
There is a wonderful article on “Removing the Mask of Error: Trick or Treatment” written by Barry Huff of CedarS Camps. It was his chapel address to the Principia Lower School during Halloween week, so I think Sunday School teachers, parents, and everyone else would really appreciate reading it. Here’s a link to the article:
It never occurred to me to look on the CedarS website for metaphysical ideas to add to the Wednesday readings and research list, but this afternoon, a Christian Scientist from Monroe shared this article with me. She is on our Wednesday readings list, and I love this fellowship and how we are all learning together!