It is that time of year again. Our stores are filled with ghosts, goblins and ghouls. Television stations are having fright-fest movie marathons. Our church is gearing up to decorate the float for the Bellville Halloween parade and the children are getting excited about all of the trick or treat stops that they will make over the next few weeks.
We are a culture which is obsessed with all things that go bump in the night: vampires, werewolves and zombies. Zombies in particular are everywhere you look. You can’t go into a store or turn on the television without seeing some kind of reference to a zombie apocalypse. It makes a person wonder what the obsession is all about. Why are we a nation drawn to the idea of moaning, lifeless zombies taking over the planet? Could it be because there is some truth to it? Of course, we all know that there is no physical virus turning us into flesh eating zombies but is there a kind of spiritual virus which has pervaded our culture turning us into hopeless and emotionless zombies?
We have become so desensitized by the violence in our culture that we are no longer shocked when we hear of another gun shooting in a public space. Our children have become so numb to this life that they cannot find a reason to continue living and suicide is on the rise in our nation. Many of us live our lives through the screen of a cell phone trying so hard to capture the moment that we forget to live in the moment. Others are working two or three jobs trying to simply put food on the table and cannot find the time for the joy of living. I once had a friend say that busyness is Satan’s best tool. We are so busy cramming our schedules with activity that some of us have forgotten the joy of living.
So where is the hope in all of this? Where is God? This is certainly the question which Mary and Martha asked when their brother Lazarus was dying and Jesus remained distant.
“On his arrival, Jesus found that Lazarus had already been in the tomb for four days.Now Bethany was less than two miles from Jerusalem, and many Jews had come to Martha and Mary to comfort them in the loss of their brother. When Martha heard that Jesus was coming, she went out to meet him, but Mary stayed at home.“Lord,” Martha said to Jesus, “if you had been here, my brother would not have died. (John 11:17-21).” Jesus answered her doubts and sorrow by saying: “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die;and whoever lives by believing in me will never die. Do you believe this? (John11:25-26).”
Jesus walked into Mary and Martha’s seemingly hopeless situation and asked them a simple question; “Do you believe?”. Then he did something astonishing, he turned despair into hope.
“Jesus called in a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out!” The dead man came out, his hands and feet wrapped with strips of linen, and a cloth around his face. Jesus said to them, “Take off the grave clothes and let him go.” (John 11:43-44).
Jesus Christ is the hope that this world needs; he is the cure for the zombie apocalypse. As Christians, we are called to “take off the grave clothes” and live our lives in response to the abundant grace which Jesus offers us. It is time for all of us to spread God’s love and hope to everyone we meet declaring to the world, “take of the grave clothes” there is hope for the world and his name is Jesus Christ.
Friends, don’t be a zombie; find hope and eternal life through Jesus Christ.
Chapel Hill UMC sits along State Route 13.
White is a pastor at Chapel Hill United Methodist Church