This zombie metaphor from about three years ago I thought was pretty clever, which I guess I can say because I didn’t think of it in the first place. I don’t know how well it holds up. It might work better for a full sermon, but it seems a bit much for just a short messages.
Whenever someone asks me what they should preach on, and it doesn’t happen a lot, I’ve always answered, preach the gospel. Easy to say for someone not preaching every week. Now, after doing a few of these communion meditations, I can see why a preacher might wander on to other topics-–like, for example, zombies in popular culture-–books, tv, movies. But I’m not going to do that today. Actually, I am, in just a minute.
But first, Preach the gospel. So what’s the gospel? What is this “good news?” I think it’s this. People are broken, and fortunately God doesn’t care. He loves us anyway, and through Jesus he offers us an opportunity to help bring his kingdom of love into the world.
So what’s this have to do with zombies? Zombies, I think, after listening to a theologian and youth minister named Tripp Fuller, are an interesting way to think about this human brokenness, what is sometimes called “original sin.” A zombie has one desire, and it will hurt anyone or itself to have that desire met. It doesn’t reflect on what’s right or wrong. It doesn’t think. It wants what it wants and will kill or die to get what it wants. The scary thing about zombies is that they are us. They’re not aliens or giant animals or ghosts. They are us, gone wrong. And it’s scary to think that we are not only our own worst enemy, but we are dangerous to our family and friends as well. Why do we do these destructive things? Why do we hurt ourselves and the one’s we love? The apostle Paul asked the same questions. Why, he asked, do I do the things I know I shouldn’t and don’t do the things I know I should.
The question is, does god fix this? Does god fix us? I don’t think so. Or maybe not the way I would if I were god. I don’t have to look any farther than myself to see a believer that carries the zombie virus and occasionally exhibits all the traits of full blown zombie. I don’t think of others all the time. I want what I want, and when I get it, I don’t appreciate it.
So what’s the point if we’re all just zombies. Well, keep in mind that the zombie thing is just a metaphor, and it can only be stretched so far. But god knows how we are. God made us. God knows what we’re capable of, both good and bad. And like I said before, god loves us and has given us the opportunity to help bring god’s kingdom into the world. But I don’t think I’m cured. I’m still broken, still sick. Fortunately god provides a number of tools to help me, a part-time zombie, with god’s work. God sent the Holy Spirit. We have this community of believers. And we have his Word – Jesus Christ, who is revealed in the bible, and in the body of believers, and in our everyday lives. If we just pay attention, we’ll see him everywhere and in everybody.
So as we take the bread and the cup, and remember what Jesus did for us, and what he does for us, remember that no matter how messed up you think you are, you’re probably right, and communion isn’t the medicine that will make you better. But it is a reminder that god loves you just the way you are, and that god calls you to love all the broken people around you in the same way.