Zombies Among Us!

     It's hard not to notice how prevalent "Zombies" are in pop culture these days.  Books, comics, TV shows and movies abound on the subject.  The culture is fascinated with zombies.  Still, even with the flood of this material, I was very surprised to come across a book with the title, Zombie Church.  When I saw it, I knew that alone made it worth the price.  I bought it on the spot.


     Now, in case you don't know just what a zombie is, the dictionary (it really is in there) defines a zombie as "the body of a dead person given the semblance of life."  The books author, Tyler Edwards, says in effect, "Zombies are dead bodies faking life."  The connection he makes is that it would seem, judging by the state of our society, that this is exactly what might define so many congregations, so many parts of the Body of Christ.  They, we, are dead bodies faking life.


    It will help if we think a bit on just what marks a true zombie.  If you've seen or read any of the stuff out there on them, their main preoccupation in their "life/death" is themselves.  They feed on others for the sole purpose of satisfying themselves.  Along the way, they infect everyone they come into contact with with the same disease they have.  They don't produce anything of lasting value, but only consume.  Nothing else matters to them in the end but the satisfaction of their own desires and needs.  They exist to be fed. 


    If we'll think about this for a moment, how close does it really come to describing you and I at heart?  Our culture is a consumer culture.  That culture has successfully invaded the church.  Zombies really are among us. Few of us have truly succeeded in staying free of it.  All of us have been infected to some degree.  If you're a pastor, can you think of the last time anyone who was seeking a church home asked about any needs the church might have, and where they could be used of the Lord to meet them, rather than wanting to know just what your congregation had to offer them and make them want to come?  If there was a desire to serve, was it based on just how large a range of "audience" you could offer them?  In other words, was it prestigious enough to make them feel it was worth their while, that it would feed their need for applause and approval?  How many "foot washers" as compared to wash recipients have been showing up, or been produced in our midst?  How many come to watch the show, as compared with going out to be the church, have we?  Which type is predominate in our midst?  Living Dead, or Living in Christ?


   Gandhi once said, "I like your Christ, I do not like your Christians.  Your Christians are so unlike your Christ."  Brennan Manning wrote, "The greatest cause of atheism in the world today is Christians who acknowledge Jesus with their lips then walk out the door and deny Him by their lifestyles."  Zombies don't resemble anyone or anything but other zombies, and by the looks of western culture, there are more and more of them all the time.  In describing them,Edwards writes, "Zombies do not produce anything.  They do not accomplish anything.  All they do is wander aimlessly, consuming everything in their path (including non-zombies)......Zombies act like they're alive, but they're dead.  They just don't know it yet."

 
   This doesn't mean there is no activity, it's just that none of the activity produces anything that is eternal.  Why? Because though we live, we don't truly live "in Christ," and as a result, though we seem to be alive, we're really dead.  Our connection is to ourselves, not to Him.  We abide mainly in ourselves, not Him.  Whatever connection we feel we have with Him is limited to corporate worship times, Bible studies or home groups.  We may do religious things, but not because it's something that flows out from us because we live so deeply in Him, but because we feel we should.  The motive doesn't come from life, but death.


   In John 6, Jesus calls His followers to "eat His flesh and drink His blood."  It offended them, it offends us as well.  In fact, He says they must eat His flesh 4 times in this chapter.  We're told that in response to this "Many no longer followed Him."  I remember reading sometime ago that in the middle east, the expression of "eating the flesh" of the one you followed was often used.  It meant that you were totally willing to identify with and enter into the life of the one you followed on every level of your life.  Jesus certainly had this in mind to a degree, but something far more as well. No person can enter fully into another's life humanly, but in Christ, we can.  It's a supernatural happening, but maybe thinking of just what happens in our bodies when we eat food helps.  That which we eat, is digested into our system, and becomes a part of us, of our blood, our tissue, our body.  What had been separate is now one.  In the spiritual realm, this is exactly what Christ calls us to when we partake of Him.  He is fully in us, and we are fully in Him.  We've become one.  Food gives life.  Christ gives full life.  Instead of being living dead, we are now dead to the world men and women who are now alive in Christ.  Truly alive.


   As far as I can tell, no one in the books and movies ever finds a cure for the zombies.  They're doomed.  Not so for us.  In Him, the disease is cured, but only in Him.  A few years ago a movie was released titled Zombieland.  Zombies wandered about everywhere, while a few still not touched by the disease, sought diligently a place of safety and refuge.  For those of us not enslaved by the Zombieland culture we live in, as well as those that are, that refuge is Christ.  Only in Him, fully in Him, will we be free of the disease.  We are born into Zombieland. Only by the blood of Jesus Christ may we enter into His Kingdom land. Have you entered in? Or, no matter your profession,do you still shuffle about with the walking dead?

Blessings,

Pastor O

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