For a smileful, soulful Halloween

First, about smiles and, oh how the world does need them now! Except no smiles from this October baseball fan to “fan interference” where the umpire call favored the Red Sox in the Astros-Red Sox playoff. Just had to say that although there are surely worse things to snarl about. Ah, sports are often a relief from all that — maybe too much so. Oh, to find that elusive balance — the game-of-life winning balance.

And, yes, Halloween may be a too all-encompassing holiday, but not when it comes to the need for Jack-O-Lantern smiles. But please, no snarly pumpkin faces — too many snarls on people’s faces these days. And let’s only welcome smiling good witches and no monsters need apply. Only shop brick-and-mortar for Halloween treats! Or anything else!

Halloween-costumed doggies do make us smile, although isn’t it sort of like gilding the lily? And black cats are never evil — cats, in general, just don’t like to dress up, or go out very much.

Of course, when trick or treating, never forget to say thanks or give a big smile. About that Halloween soul ... well, smiling and saying thanks is pretty soulful — and so needed to be seen and heard — and in the highest of places, setting examples and yes, bridging divisions — bridging divisions.

And I so gratefully remember Madison Avenue Presbyterian Church’s Dr. David H.C. Read’s All Saints Day Sunday sermons, particularly the Litany of Commemoration prayer. While the sermons didn’t slight recognized saints and church martyrs, the message that close to Halloween Sunday was also closer to home. Remembered were those we knew, church members and others, who had departed this life the previous year and in other years too. The message was also about the promise of a heavenly hereafter and strength and guidance for the life journey at hand.

The Litany of Commemoration gave thanks for the lives of the departed and how we the living are still connected. Read aloud by the congregation, in part it said “We always give thanks for all the dear

friends and kindred now ministering in the spiritual world whose faces we see no more, but whose love is with us forever… we give thanks for every hallowed memory and the abiding hope that where they are, we shall be also ...”

Even unbelievers I know were moved by this Litany of Commemoration and Read’s sermons, which to my knowledge were not compiled in a book as were numerous others. My collection is available for any publisher interested in these messages, which offer comfort for the bereaved, as well as a hope for a heaven, for which, again, even unbelievers may secretly yearn.

And may this Litany of Commemoration be prayed again, perhaps on this closest to Halloween Sunday, October 28, by the senior minister, the Rev. Jenny McDevitt, and the associate minister, the Rev. Beverly Bartlett. And yes, I’ve requested it be prayed at any service which might be held for me.

So, all Saints Day/Halloween blessings to one and to all — and of course, have fun and smile a whole lot. And, you kids and everyone else, don’t forget to say thanks!