>Jesus, Friend of Trick-or-Treaters? Or WWJD About Halloween?
Introduced into the social consciousness by Charles Sheldon’s 1896 book, In His Steps, the question “What would Jesus do?” has inarguably guided the faith of millions. While still popular, I think it safe to say that this meme reached its pinnacle in the 1990s. I have to wonder, though, is it the right question for us, now, at this point in history? While I agree we should be about the business of the imitation Christ, who among us is Jesus? I’m sure not—and chances are, neither are you—Jesus, and thus how are we supposed to know what He would do? (Unless we first know what He actually did–“If you abide in my Word, you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free”). I think we need to back up a step and ask ourselves “What did Jesus do?” What business was He about when He walked among us? What was His primary mission? You know, what did He do? Once we know this, once it is settled in our hearts, we have a key that unlocks a whole host of other questions, such as: what does being in the world, but not of it look like? The answer that comes to mind is: Jesus. He’s our model of being in, but not of. That may seem overly simple, or all but unobtainable. But His is the only model of perfectly Christlike behavior I can find. How do we apply this? For instance, suppose we ask ourselves what would Jesus do on halloween night? How would He reach his family, friends, and neighbors? How about this: what did He do in a world dominated by fervent religiosity and overt paganism? How did He respond? What did Jesus do? Based upon my reading of Scriptures, I know that—no matter what He did do (healing the sick, giving sight to the blind, raising the dead)–the Lord Jesus was called a winebibber, a glutton, and a friend of sinners. Dare we be known as the friends of trick-or-treaters? Or is that too far outside our comfort zones? I submit that if we are indeed known as such, we are in good company.
In summary, the answer to the question of “what would Jesus do?” is another question: what did Jesus do? Because what He would do is what He always did, what He has been doing for the last 2000 years: whatever it takes to change lives. And as I see it, Halloween need not be an obstacle to this endeavor, but rather an opportunity to be embraced. We should start a new meme—a new “old” movement: WDJD–“What Did Jesus Do?” (“playing the number one hit record of all time, the Gospel”)–and go and do likewise.