Updated: Mar 26
Okay. Imagine it’s the Zombie Apocalypse. Name three people you want on your team.
Chances are, you might be thinking about your own skills and limitations and where there might be gaps. Or perhaps you’ve already googled Zombiepedia (yeah, that’s a thing: https://zombie.fandom.com/wiki/Essential_Survival_Skills) to do some responsible academic research before answering. According to these experts, you need someone skilled in combat, medicine, engineering, and outdoor survival-type things.
There are at least two advantages to playing this game. First, it’s an exercise in recognizing our human limitations and seeing how we not only depend on one another but, as people of faith, we depend utterly on God. It’s one thing to admit that God gives us the very life and breath and spark of consciousness that lets us ponder this world and give our best efforts to whatever is at hand. It’s quite another to remember this when we get going under our own steam, bustling our industrious way through our tasks and projects. It’s easy to feel as though we’ve been given our marching orders from the Almighty, responded with a little “Got it, Boss” salute, and then toddled off to do the work ourselves.
Ourselves. As though we are all we have to work with. Oh, we might remember to check back in with God at the end of the week at church, or even at the end of the day, to show our work and to ask God to fix something. But if we open our awareness to consider God’s presence in every moment, we have what amounts to the best zombie apocalypse team possible. This brings us to the second advantage of this game: the opportunity to redefine the zombies in our world.
You see, some of our zombies don’t look like zombies at all. They can look like anger. Impatience. The need to be right or to look good. Fear-shaped financial decisions. They show up groaning and slobbering and threatening to consume us.
But when we realize that God is with us in every moment, we can look at these creatures differently. It’s more than “What would Jesus do?” It’s “What does God want to do through me here and now?”
Nothing defangs raging anger like the faith that God is with us, not inflaming it but inviting us to look at what lies beneath it, not agitating our impatience, but asking us to consider what may be going on in the life of others. Roaring egos can be stopped dead in their tracks when we know that God is right there in our midst, chuckling at our need to be right or puffed up, and giving us the courage to be right-sized. Even something as innocuous as leaving a tip or deciding on a donation can become a zombie when we are gripped with fear that pits someone’s real need against our own comfort. God might be nudging us toward greater generosity and – whomp! Zombie down.
God shows up in other ways. It’s not just you and Jesus on the team. We Presbyterians believe the Holy Spirit moves through even the most unlikely characters in our lives. That’s why Jesus said that when we respond to those in need, we are responding to him. That’s what the Matthew 25 movement is all about.
We’re not called to fight those who tell us they’re in pain. They’re not the enemy. We’re not called to fight one another. We’re all on the same team. It’s only the zombie apocalypse if we allow anger and ego and fear to consume us and turn us into the very things God calls us to stand against.
So. Who’s on your team?
Grace & Peace,