Faith & Fandom
Walking Dead: We are the Walking Dead
Back in 1978 as “Dawn of the Dead” was hitting theatres, it brought us the morbid yet iconic poster that stated, “When there’s no more room in Hell, the dead will walk the earth.” Now I seriously doubt there is any truth of real estate issues in Hell, but the concept of the dead walking the earth has been a subject that has quickly gained momentum in our culture. I personally credit George A. Romero with getting this trend started, but nothing has jolted the concept forward more so than “The Walking Dead.” The comic book had been going along for years with much acclaim but not as much recognition; however once the AMC drama made its debut, there’s been nothing slowing its momentum. I first started reading the comics the summer before the show came on. I heard Frank Darbont was attached to it, and considering the dude made The Shawshank Redemption, I had high hopes. I picked up “The Walking Dead: Compendium Vol 1” for $20 at Heroes Con that year, and the rest was history.
There is a deep connection to the concept of Zombies and faith, considering that we are creatures who, because of sin, are dead, yet still roam around the earth unaware. “As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our flesh and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature deserving of wrath.” (Ephesians 2:1-3)
Most of the world goes on about their lives day to day, completely unaware of their condition. Early in season 1 of TWD the survivors are still under the misconception that this plague is only spread through infection, it’s a heart breaking moment when they realize that this is everyone’s fate now, regardless of being bitten or not. In our lives we are already dead, and need to be brought to life. We miss this concept though and think that faith is all about being better and living right, but it’s about coming to life. As Ravi Zacharias stated, “Jesus didn’t come to make bad people good but to make dead people live!”
One of the most powerful moments out of the whole Walking Dead series is in the climax of issue #24 when Rick makes this chilling speech: “You people don’t know what we are. We’re surrounded by the dead. We’re among them—and when we finally give up we become them! We’re living on borrowed time here. Every minute of our life is a minute we steal from them! You see them out there. You know that when we die, we become them. You think we hide behind walls to protect us from the walking dead! Do you get it? We are the walking dead!” This is the realization we need to make- that we are “The Walking Dead” and that it is in Christ that we come alive.
“But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” (Ephesians 2:4-10)
Right now in the TV series (heading into season 5) there is a group heading to Washington so that a “cure” can be found (those of you who read the
comics have an idea where this is heading, but I’ll be nice and avoid potential spoilers). They are going to sacrifice and risk a lot to make it to where they believe they can find the cure, the remedy, the salvation to the plague that is on them. Like them, we know where to find the answers, and not only do we need to seek it, but we need to be willing to help others find it.
Remember Lizzie? She was the super creepy “just look at the flowers” girl from season 4. Too often, though we are freed from death, we still spend our time among the dead or live like we are still dead. Just like in the stomach turning scene from season one where they cover themselves in “death” so they can fit in with dead, we try to fit in with the dead even though we have been made alive. This only hurts us and those we try to fit in with. Once we have been freed from death we need to make sure we don’t allow it to overcome us. Michone grew so accustomed to having the dead as her companion that it was much easier to identify with them than with those who are living. Hershel stored up a barn full of the dead, hoping that life would return to them. In all of these situations the same thing echoes true, cast off the dead and move towards life.
“For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body ruled by sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin— because anyone who has died has been set free from sin. Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. For we know that since Christ was raised from the dead, he cannot die again; death no longer has mastery over him. The death he died, he died to sin once for all; but the life he lives, he lives to God. In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus. Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its evil desires. Do not offer any part of yourself to sin as an instrument of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life; and offer every part of yourself to him as an instrument of righteousness. For sin shall no longer be your master, because you are not under the law, but under grace.” Romans 6:6-14
We all start out as the Walking Dead, the question is; Are we going to choose to remain that way?