ROCKWALL, TX – October 8, 2020 — We sat on the floor hugging our knees to our chest for protection, wide-eyed at the scene before us. Several people with the same ghastly appearance stumbled forward— not in living color but in half-dead black and white.
That was my first encounter with zombies, when Mom allowed my sister and me to stay up late one Friday night to watch a scary movie. It may have been the only time I forgot to eat my popcorn.
Zombies have maintained a steady following for decades, which may have something to do with people facing their fear of disease, or death, or life after death. But it’s a gruesome type of therapy to entertain yourself with the walking dead—rotting flesh, infected and infecting.
I recently observed some modern-day, civilized zombies (although they might refer to themselves in another way since their particular form of mindlessness begins with exercise). I’d seated myself at the only empty picnic table with a shade tree for an hour of reading while my husband and son hiked.
The group of young women sat cross-legged in a circle on a blanket with several babies stowed in a playpen beside them. I assumed they gathered for social and health benefits, but after some low humming they rose and surrounded my shade tree. As they caressed the tree with long strokes, they chanted unintelligible words. When the women’s voices grew shrill with laughter, the babies began centering on their own self-actualization—wailing for their mothers’ attention.
I felt sorry for those women and children. They’re soaking in the world’s counterfeit light in place of “the light of the world” (John 8:12*). Pastor Tim Keller says, “Christ gives us true things to think about that overcome the darkness of this life, while others say ‘just hum loudly and look away.’”
However, I do not condemn those who seek to fill a spiritual void since I, too, was once a zombie. According to the Apostle Paul, I was dead in my sins while I “followed the ways of this world” (Ephesians 2:2).
Paul, sent by the Lord to minister to Gentile nations that did not know God, explained that, without Christ, we are the walking dead. “All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our sinful nature and following its desires and thoughts” (Eph. 2:3). He observed the futility of those “separated from the life of God,” who have “lost all sensitivity” (Eph. 4:18 – 19).
The nations currently hope for a return to normal through an effective vaccine against the deadly virus that plagues us. But our normal world features untold suffering from the problem of sin. Greed, strife, deceit and all kinds of depravity will continue to plague our world. And troubled souls will still seek relief through escape mechanisms and mind-altering substances.
However, “a new and living way opened for us” that allows us to “draw near to God” (Hebrews 10:20, 22). We don’t have to stumble through life infected with sin.
Ezekiel 36:26 foretold of the transformation the Messiah would bring: “I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.” This Old Testament promise was fulfilled in Jesus Christ, who came to seek and to save the spiritually lost and confused, even those who were demon-possessed.
“Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind” (Romans 12:2).
*Scriptures from the New International Version
By Patti Richter. Patti writes and edits Christian faith articles and has co-authored Signs of His Presence: Experiencing God’s Comfort in Times of Suffering (March 2019). Read more of her essays at blueribbonnews.com/category/faith.
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