The real walking dead

The truth is we’re all zombies.

The question is: what are we feeding on?

Happy All Hallows’ Eve / Hallowe’en / Halloween! (the “eve” in this instance is the night before All Saints’ Day [All Hallows’ Day], a Christian feast day in honor of every saint)

I present a ghoulishly-themed post in honor of the tradition of dressing up to ward off evil spirits that were said to become more active on this day due to the spiritual significance tomorrow holds.

So, zombies; sure, I’ll jump on that bandwagon.

Unless you live under a rock, you know the mythical premise behind zombies is that in some variation or another they are mindless, walking dead people who attack and feed off of the living.

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Some would-be enterprising individuals find it humorous to suggest Christians worship a zombie (har har, Jesus rose from the dead, so He’s a zombie, right?  Har har.  Except He came back to full life, not a pseudo-living form of death.  So, there).

I want to instead suggest that we are all zombies, in a sense, in our current state of existence.

Inherently each of us looks for something outside of ourselves to give us meaning.  Some of us look to other people (family, friends, lovers); some of us look to religion; some of us look to philosophy (even taking the concept that there is no meaning in life to be our own meaning in life…huh?); some of us look to drugs or alcohol; you get the idea.

Not only does this seem to be inherent to our nature, but it is also reinforced by our consumer-obsessed society.  We are constantly encouraged to purchase, to acquire, to consume in order to drive our economy, and the motivation we are implicitly and quite frequently explicitly given for doing so owes to the belief that we “need” this product or that service to make our life better in some way.

As a result we’re left in a consistent state of dull dissatisfaction, constantly wanting to consume some nameless thing just out of reach that may finally do the trick and bring us some kind of lasting contentment.  One more vacation; one more car; one more promotion; one more raise; one more drink; a different job; a different spouse; different friends; a better home; living in a different place.

Restless.

Because, like zombies, we typically hunger after things that don’t feed our needs.  We walk about in a state of mindless boredom and disenfranchisement, jumping on the first thing that crosses our path that seems to have any life in it.

That is the definition of worship – attributing a form of ultimate worth to someone or something, a worth that we try to ingest into our lives to give us a semblance of purpose or meaning.

The trouble is most of us worship persons or things that can’t hold up under the weight of those expectations.  Jobs end; entropy happens; family, friends and lovers fail us; people die; we sober up; vacations end; the same problems we had living here follow us there.

The prudent move would be to see if there is something to feed on that truly placates our needs.  Are there any bottomless wells from which to drink that don’t run dry; any sources of life we can draw on that we won’t destroy in the process?

From one “zombie” to the rest of us, there’s at least one.

Verbatim, Christ tells us in the New Testament to drink His living water so that we will never thirst again and to eat His flesh and drink His blood so that we may share in His life.

Within the Eastern Orthodox and Anglo-Catholic traditions of Christianity (and according to them – and their interpretation of Scirpture – within the New Testament Church), the Christian’s participatioin in Holy Communion is mysteriously a partaking in the Real Life of Christ.

There are some differences between these groups in understanding what exactly happens to the consecrated bread and wine, but the important agreement is that somehow part of Christ’s Presence is transmitted to those who share in the meal; that in a special way His life enters us.

All I can say is it’s tangible to me.  I feel it.  It satisfies.

I come from a Christian tradition that doesn’t routinely take Communion, but I have joined a church that does.  And having experienced that and then gone back for a season to a church that didn’t regularly practice it, I was shocked to find how profoundly I missed it.

It felt like a physical lack within me, not just psychological; like a longing to have that extra experience of intimacy with the Living God.

Because if God is real, and He became man in the Person of Christ and came back to life from the dead to be the first among many to one day have our humanity fully consumated and restored along with all of Creation, then it would make sense for the restorative process to already be under way in a variety of methods, some of which seem as mysterious and other-worldly as the Resurrection itself.

It’s admittedly not the easiest of paradigm shifts to make for many of us, inheritors of the Enlightenment that we are.

But it doesn’t seem to be the most rational course of action to continue trying to satisfy a deep hunger by fitting square pegs in round holes, either.

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