I Know What You Did Last Summer, a favorite slasher/horror movie of the late 90s, grossed over 100 million at the box office.
The revenue and popularity generated by the original were immense. So much so that they decided to follow it up with two sequels.
As always, Hollywood greed crowded out good judgment. The follow-ups were flops.
But, as far as horror movies go, the original still gets strong reviews among regular folk like you and me.
I know that many of my readers probably aren’t into horror movies. But, for some reason, I’ve always been intrigued by them.
As a child, I read every Hitchcock story I could find. I picked up much of what Steven King was writing as well. I read Poe, Mary Shelley, Anne Rice, to name but a few.
There are, of course, many things I now wish I had not read or seen. I am coming to believe, however, that the horror genre, in general, is on to something.
Something to which the church ought to pay attention!
The Harrowing, Haunted, and Holy!
I’ve not always felt this way. The feeling is pretty recent.
I owe this feeling to my second child, Luke, his good friend, Nick, and a slew of their high school and college friends.
Luke, Nick, and this group of young adults recently offered a Haunted Trail to our small community.
What started as a small project of fright, and fun-filled scare scenes for a few friends turned into quite an event.
An event that, when it was all said and done, ushered 1,000 – 1,500 people through within a three-hour space of time.
I Know What You Did Last Weekend!
My original intention was to show up early and leave early. Because of the sheer numbers, I decided to stay.
I am glad I did.
And, if you live in Vero, it’s likely that I Know What You Did Last Weekend!
At least a thousand or more of you, anyhow!
And, since I Know What You Did Last Weekend, I am going to talk about it at church this weekend!
Specifically, I am going to discuss how a journey through the Haunted Trail on Saturday night more accurately depicts reality and taps into desire than many gatherings in a House of Worship on Sunday morning.
If you’re in Vero, you may want to stop by. I’m going to try and get a brief interview from the mad-scientists behind the event to see if we can discover the why and how behind the what.
Then, I am going to scan the Scriptures for the week and suggest multiple realities the Haunted Trail more clearly depicts than you can find in most modern houses of worship these days.
Three (or Four of Five) Truths from the Trail
Here’s a brief look at where we are heading:
The haunted trail reveals the truth that there are unseen beings (good and evil) everywhere that aren’t easily detected by the human eye.
Make no mistake about it: this is an ancient biblical theme and one that most cultures held in high esteem for centuries. Just take a look at ancient architecture.
Biblically speaking, there are more for us than against us!
This unseen realm is one we often ignore.
The church has become so sanitized, sterilized, and disneyfied – making everything safe for everyone (and yes, there is a concern to be safe) – that we’ve forgotten the truth that we were birthed into an inhabited planet. One in chaos and rebellion.
The Light on the Haunted Trail Doesn’t Always Shine True!
The lights on the haunted trail were set up to distract those on the journey. To divert their attention away from the next scare or hidden mystery behind the next turn.
The Scriptures remind us that there is one who masquerades as light.
Therefore, we must learn to develop habits of discipleship within a community. Ministries that emphasize the Word of Christ and His power to live in us and dwell among us are aiding we who journey. In this way we are not fooled by false light, nor are we easily led off the path.
Don’t hear what I am not saying. I am not saying we need to know the word better regarding consuming the information it offers. Instead, I am suggesting that we need to be better and more genuinely known by the word. As we are identified by the Word, it then consumes and shapes us: guiding us along the way!
The Haunted Trail’s special gift is that it unmasks the power of evil and reveals – in such a clear way – that the only power evil has is the power granted it by humans!
I realized this reality about halfway through the night. Often the trail was just too much for some. In these moments, the scare actors removed their mask. When the costume comes off, fear takes flight.
Because when the mask came off, they saw the human face behind it. I am convinced that one of the most significant mistakes we make in the church is giving too much power to evil.
Further, I think the only – that’s right ONLY – power evil has is the power we give it! Christ’s work has been – and is – sufficient to destabilize all the power and authority of the enemy. I can get too far into the weeds here, but on Sunday, I am going to explore Hebrews 7 and the finished work of our Priest. We will then consider what exactly that means for we who are His priests. Odd that it took a Haunted Trail to bring this to light in such a vivid way.
The Haunted Trail depicted the reality that the Gospel shows the way out.
I won’t say much on this, but it became clear that people wanted help to navigate the trial.
They wanted a way out.
They were hungry for a way through. Safe passage on their way home!
I had the distinct privilege of providing that passage. What I learned is worth passing along!
The Haunted Trail depicted the reality that we humans are hungry for a brush with transcendence.
Further, we give little regard to the form it takes.
We are just hungry!
The Night the Teacher Became the Student
I could go on and on, but most of you have probably stopped reading already.
I’m proud of my son and His friends.
For their initiative, their ingenuity, creativity, and desire to provide a harrowing but safe event for his friends and this community.
But most of all I am proud that on this night the teacher (usually me) became the learner (usually him).
Flannery O’Connor once observed that she lived in a Christ-haunted South.
I experienced that in real-time last weekend.
I Know What You Did Last Weekend.
Now I ask you: What will you do this weekend? Why not join us at Pillar as we reflect on the fact that Haunted Trails may more accurately depict reality than Holy huddles?
Disrupting to Renew!