Among the Living Dead

October 31 — Romans 6:1–14

Today is All Hallows Eve. For centuries in the Church, this day was set aside as a vigil for the observance of All Saints Day and All Souls Day which would be celebrated on the following two days. “All Hallows Eve” literally means “holy evening” and the Church would celebrate it with fasting, prayers, hymns and Scripture readings. Then, the following two days, the Church would honor and remember the saints that had gone before them and pray for the souls of those who had died.

Over the years, especially in the United States, these observances have been forgotten and our culture turned the emphasis toward the darker side of death. Now “All Hallows Eve,” or Halloween, focuses more on evil and fear. Skeletons, zombies, witches and ghosts are common fare at parties and among trick or treaters. Sadly, the holy purpose of remembering and honoring the dead has been largely forgotten.

Nonetheless, I have discovered among the “ruins” of Halloween a thought that brings our Christian lives into focus. Seeing an ad for a local theater’s re-showing of the movie The Night of the Living Dead, I thought of how that is an apt description of Christians. We are among the living dead! In Romans 6, Paul is describing what occurs when we accept Christ as our Lord and are baptized. He explains how we die to sin when we commit our lives to Christ. Not only are our sins forgiven and washed away, but we turn away from those sins, in essence dying to them. He then explains that our baptism symbolized how we, by faith, died with Christ so that our old life was buried and we rose to new life in Him. We are, in Christ, the living dead!

In Galatians 2:20, Paul wrote, “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” We have died with Christ. We are dead to sin. We are alive only through the life of Christ flowing through us!

As one of the “living dead,” I invite you to spread the word among our zombie-loving culture that there is only One who can bring life to the dead. He is the one who brought you back to life and offers to do the same for them. Today, be dead to what others may think so that you can share the Good News wherever God leads you!