Saints and Zombies
Halloween or Hallow’s Eve would not be possible without All Hallows Day, or All Saints Day, Nov. 1. The frights of the Eve were banished by the power of the saints’ example the next day. Nowadays, zombies get more press in public media than saints. There are movies, AMC TV series, novels, comic books, and even Zombie walks in cities scheduled for Halloween.
Zombie stories ask this religious question:
What reason do we have for the hope within us?
Why, in the face of the global food crisis, a genocide every decade, climate change, world poverty and finally, the ravenous dead -- why, in the face of all that, do we not just lie down and die?
The example of the saints, people of faith, give an answer.
"When there is no more room in hell, the dead will walk the earth." That was the tagline for Romero's zombie flicks of the '60s and '70s. It speaks to a bleak vision of humanity -- that our species is capable of packing hell until it overflows with men and women who eventually exist only to feed their hungers.
The kingdom of God will never be too full to take more. The lives of saints we have known assures us that love is meant to be our basic character. If anything overflows from the next life, it is not the living dead but acts of love and grace.
Zombie stories define hell-on-earth as what happens when the only way we know to seek union with another is to devour them. Saints have viewed others as neighbors they love and help provide for.
Zombies look at you and all they see is food. I don't know if there are many things more horrifying than to be seen by another human being as nothing more than an object to consume or use for pleasure. The saints look upon us as fellow children of God and as someone valuable enough that Jesus was willing to die that we might live.
Zombies are doomed by the hunger of their condition. They are powerless to halt their violent actions.
On the other hand, the saints affirm that we do have choices. Father Polycarp in "What Our Eyes Have Witnessed" emphasizes the need to live lives of unstoppable hope, even in the face of almost certain failure. He says this in a Roman ghetto in the second century A.D., as the dead bodies piled up over starving survivors who have been abandoned by their uphill neighbors.
All Saints’ Sunday, Nov. 3, is a day to celebrate resurrection, to have the audacity to proclaim that death, destruction, violence, and pain aren’t ultimate. This is a day to invite people to dare to believe in what much of the world says is impossible and then ask them to live in ways that reflect that radical belief.
Rev. Bill Schram began his ministry with Westminster in March 2018 and is the current Interim Minister. Bill attended McCormick seminary in Chicago and met his wife Jenny there. They have served as co-pastors and in separate positions. He has served churches in urban, near suburb, small town, county seat towns in various positions such as pastor, associate pastor, interim pastor, and hospital chaplain. He and Jenny have two natural and one foster daughter. Delightfully, they now have a granddaughter to enjoy.