Things That Haunt Us Every Day
Fear. We all have fears, some rational and some irrational but they’re OUR fears. To us they seem like monsters and things that go bump in the night. Sometimes even the mention of them can throw us into the darkness of fright. Monsters, things that haunt us every day. That’s the title of our new series. How do we deal with the monsters in our lives.
You all know my mind works a little differently than others. During Annual Conference this year, Dr. Gil Rendle was leading us in study and commented how he’d noticed that the horror movies reflect the fears that currently worry society. Boom, my mind went chasing that thought and that was the inspiration for this series.
The movies of the last few years have included Zombies, Vampires, Aliens and then the struggle with death, free will and fate in movies like The Adjustment Bureau and Final Destination. This morning we begin with Zombies.
You and I both know that none of these monsters are real. They are all figments of our imagination. They are ways in which we have come to verbalize and make physical representations of our fears, anxieties and uncertainties. In one sense, psychologically, it’s sort of healthy because most of the time we overcome or defeat the monsters in the movies.
With that in mind, let’s look at Zombies. Most people think there is only one kind of Zombie when in actuality there are two. Zombies are actually a part of Haitian and Creole belief system and a part of the voodoo culture. A zombie is an animated corpse resurrected back to life by mystical means, such as witchcraft. It can also describe someone who has been hypnotized and has no self-awareness but is able to be manipulated into doing something horrific for their master.
The Zombies we are most familiar with are those called Fictional Zombies. They and their current mythos originated with the classic horror film “Night of the Living Dead” but really owe their existence to the 18th century BC work “The Epic of Gilgamesh.” These zombies are usually depicted as mindless, reanimated corpses with a hunger for human flesh, and particularly for human brains. They stumble and shamble mindlessly along unconcerned and pretty much unaware of what’s going on around them.
Someone even suggested that there are Zombies in Scripture. The verses they are referring to come out from Jesus death on the cross in Matthew 27:50-53
 Then Jesus cried again with a loud voice and breathed his last.
 At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two, from top to bottom. The earth shook, and the rocks were split.
 The tombs also were opened, and many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised.
 After [Jesus’] resurrection they came out of the tombs and entered the holy city and appeared to many.
One of the reasons some people have claimed that this is the origin of the undead is that Scripture doesn’t tell us what happened to these saints other than they appeared to many. Did they ascend with Jesus? Did they die again like Lazarus? Are they still wandering the earth waiting for the final resurrection? We don’t know. But that’s not what I want to focus on. Nor is that the Scripture I want us to remember today.
II. ZOMBIE LIKE:
A. You and I know that Zombies aren’t real, however we know plenty of people who are living zombie-like lives. We’ve all probably experienced some of that lifestyle ourselves. Oh, I don’t mean that we’re out trying to devour brains. But we’ve all had those times in our lives when it was simply everything we could do to get through the day.
Our life seemed to be in slow motion. It felt like we were walking through water. We stumbled our way through this event and shambled our way through that event not remember anything about hem other than we were there. Life seemed pointless and meaningless. We felt like hamsters in a wheel getting nowhere. Sometimes we stopped and just stood slack-jawed and half aware. We’ve all been there or we know someone who has been there or is there now.
So, what has brought on this Zombie-like state? It’s certainly not the virus or mutagenic gas portrayed in the movies. There are a lot of things, events, emotions which can cause us to become Zombies.
One of the biggest is grief. The loss of a loved one and the grief that accompanies that loss can cripple us spiritually, mentally, emotionally and even physically. If it seeps deep into our soul it can cause us to lose ourselves in the darkness of that grief rather than living in the light of Christ.
B. It’s not just grief. There are a lot of things in life that can grip us and fill us full of crippling fear: health issues, loss of independence, divorce, joblessness, unemployment, war, breaking down in the middle of nowhere without cell coverage, our kids making major mistakes and ruining their future, economic collapse, terrorists, empty nest syndrome, retirement. There any number of things and scenarios which strike fear into our hearts.
Most of us have learned to face those fears or to ignore them by realizing that most fears are unfounded. We know there’s no boogie man waiting to grab us in the dark room. Our fears might make us hesitant but life goes on and so do we. Yet somehow we cope, somehow me still go through life.
But sometimes, those very same things that we found fairly easy to cope with pile up and seem to overwhelm us. Any one of them would have been easy to deal with on its own but suddenly they come at us like a plague of locusts. Or maybe it’s only one or two but they’ve worn us down to a nub and we can’t seem to go on.
No matter how hard we try, we can’t get away from them. They haunt us. They render us unable to move on or grow or be productive. They turn us into Zombies, the Walking Dead, stumbling through life, barely alive.
C. That’s the way Mary Magdalene was until Jesus healed her. If you remember, she was plagued with seven demons. The woman had issues. Whether they were real physical entities or whether they were emotional or psychological disorders we won’t know until we meet her in heaven. But her issues messed her up and she just stumbled through life.
Her issues and problems made her a zombie unable to live the fullness of life God intended until Jesus raised her from the walking dead and transformed her into a living Christian. He did that.
III. THE CURE:
A. Jesus did that for Mary and he will do it for us. That’s the Good News. But sometimes we forget that. Part of the reason we forget that is that we haven’t spent enough time in the Word. We haven’t filled our hearts with the passages of Scripture which are God’s Prescription for coping with fear and anxiety. When we read and study Scripture it’s like taking the prescriptions our Doctors give us.
If you have high blood pressure or a thyroid condition or heart trouble you don’t quit taking your prescription because you know your life depends up them. And yet we skip God’s Prescription for holiness, reading and studying God’s Word. When we study, those words become etched on our heart and are there to help us when life seems to get overwhelming.
B. One of the most powerful passages comes from 2 Corinthians 4:7-14
 But we have this treasure in clay jars, so that it may be made clear that this extraordinary power belongs to God and does not come from us.
 We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair;
 persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed;
 always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be made visible in our bodies.
 For while we live, we are always being given up to death for Jesus’ sake, so that the life of Jesus may be made visible in our mortal flesh.
 So death is at work in us, but life in you.
 But just as we have the same spirit of faith that is in accordance with scripture—”I believed, and so I spoke”—we also believe, and so we speak,
 because we know that the one who raised the Lord Jesus will raise us also with Jesus, and will bring us with you into his presence.
If we haven’t read them in a while, if we haven’t etched them on our heart, it’s easy to forget the power and the promise of these words and to allow ourselves to fall into that Zombie-like state of mind. But with these words, like Mary Magdalene, we are raised from the walking dead and transformed into a living Christian by Jesus himself.
And this morning, we come to feast with the one who can and will raise us to new life. We come and feast on the bread and wine which fills us with God’s means of Grace; which help us remember God’s promises and God’s presence. We may stumble Zombie-like to the table but we will leave New Creations raised to new life in Christ.
And so we don’t forget, I want you to join with me in reading responsively, the passage from 2 Corinthians 4:7-14. Your part is in yellow.
We have this treasure in clay jars, so that it may be made clear that this extraordinary power belongs to God
and does not come from us.
We are afflicted in every way,
but not crushed;
but not driven to despair;
but not forsaken;
but not destroyed;
We have the same spirit of faith
So that the life of Jesus may be made visible.
We know that the one who raised the Lord Jesus
Will raise us also and bring us into his presence. r