I must confess growing up as an Australian I find the infiltration of Halloween into our culture as both an Americanisation and Commericalisation of a holiday to sell us more things. These aspects of Halloween, greed and gluttony, are far more concerning to me than any ‘spiritual’ dangers of dressing up as ghouls or ghosts. At least when we are dressing up in silly costumes we recognise what we are doing, but when it comes to greed and gluttony this is our embedded in our culture. Despite this critique, I also understand that the history of the celebrations do have spiritual significance that when known might offer the possibility of conversation with people who engage in Halloween activities. I believe that there is always a possibility of God at work in all manner of things. How will you respond to people who knock on your door, or invite your children to participate? How do you engage in Halloween? How could you see it as opportunity rather than simply risk?
The notion of Godliness found in the scriptures is a difficult one and was reduced by the banality of the saying, “cleanliness is next to Godliness”. This banality might reflect something of the reality of the situation that way in which any individuals perceives or understands or encounters God varies. This also means the notion of Godliness varies because the perception, understanding and encounter of God varies.
One common thread in terms of Godliness is the capacity for love. God is love so to be Godly is to be loving: love for others; love for those easy to love; love for those difficult to love; love for enemies. Love though should not simply be thought of as an emotion but as a deed. In being loving Godliness might look like putting the needs of others before ourselves, doing random kindly acts, practicing generosity and graciousness, and adhering to Christian principles within your daily life.
Godliness also extends to God’s love and care for the creation. Simply sitting in nature and appreciating it as created and loved by God can transform us into being more Godly in our interaction with the natural world.
Godliness does not have to be achieved in our own power. Athanasius once said that Jesus became human in order that we might become God with him. This idea is sometimes spoken of as deification or theosis. By the power of the Holy Spirit we are drawn into the very life of God. This is more than asking ‘what would Jesus do?’ as a kind of moral imperative but is a process of living out of the relationship we have with God who dwells within us.
What does it mean for you to live a Godly life? For me it is far more than cleanliness!