As I was driving into Chicago earlier this week for my seminary classes, I marveled at the beautiful aura of autumn that we are blessed with in northwest Indiana. Even though it was raining, the changing colors of leaves (some of which were falling off the trees as I was driving) served as a gentle reminder of God's wondrous creation. More specifically, as I navigated through the traffic on I-94, I thought about the various towns I was passing by in Indiana and Illinois. These towns, including Valparaiso, receive their identity from the people. The ways in which we interact with each other determine how our community - or God's neighborhood - evolves.
Tonight, First Presbyterian Church will be hosting its annual Trunk-or-Treat event in our spacious parking lot. The event begins with a 5:30 p.m. dinner in the Pavilion followed by Trunk-or-Treat at 6:00 p.m. Parents and grandparents will bring their children and grandchildren who are adorned in an array of costumes - Spiderman, Princesses, Minions, and Star Wars characters, just to name a few. A plethora of candy will be given to the many youngsters parading from car to car or van to van. Quite frankly, Trunk-or-Treat is a wonderful event for the church and the community of Valparaiso. While the event is part of the identity of First Presbyterian, it has evolved into a magnificent community event as many families in the greater Valparaiso community are impacted by the fellowship shared at Trunk-or-Treat each year.
Events such as Trunk-or-Treat, of course, produce fun and happy times for the children, parents, grandparents, and other friends who share in the festivities tonight. Most importantly, these types of events at First Presbyterian offer a sense of community to the people in the greater Valparaiso area and demonstrate God's love and mission. "'You shall love your Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.' This is the greatest and first commandment. And the second is like it: 'You shall love your neighbor as yourself.' (Matthew 22:37-39). These are the words of Jesus Christ emphasizing the importance of reaching out to our neighbors, some of whom we already know and many whom we will have the pleasure of meeting tonight for the first time.
Halloween is always an exciting theme for many and Trunk-or-Treat at First Presbyterian is a great way to celebrate the season. I hope to see you in the parking lot tonight as we share God's neighborhood with the world.
McCormick Theological Seminary student