-Pastor Melissa Fain-
You know what happens when you die in Christ?
I have knowingly witnessed the undeath of a Zombie Church twice in my lifetime. Both times were terrifying. I saw the dying church sit on the precipice of choice, die or be undead, and choose undeath. I watched their collective brains work up the old songs, and do the old movements, unaware that the only reason the manic desires were working was because of the new undeath they were choosing. The muscles hadn’t begun to atrophy and rot yet. Only it was coming, and it came, and it will always come if a church chooses undeath over death.
Easter this year was a nationwide Zombie event.
Let me say this first: I sincerely hope I’m wrong, but I haven’t been yet. Please keep that in mind. I want to be wrong, but I don’t see this going any other way.
I’m going to lay out some bitter truths none of y’all want to hear. Gird up your loins, because here it comes:
On Easter Sunday 2022, we used it as our chance to bring it all back. We wanted the lilies and the banners, the preludes and the choirs. We wanted the past, and God wouldn’t keep us from something we loved. Right?! … Right? As a Nation we became the Holy Undead Church.
By the way, I’m okay with you scoffing at my words right now, if that’s what you’re doing. In return, you need to be okay that I can’t get too close. Undead, when they finally realize what they did, will bite. They won’t understand why things went the way it did, and blame will be thrown in all directions but themselves. I get it. It’s not fair. You just want your normal experience back. You just want the songs. You just want [insert selfish want here].
If now you’re bristling because I’m calling last Sunday a selfish desire- check yourself. Did you want an Easter Cantata because it would help a greater need for the human race? Did you do it because you knew the community needed it? Or, did you do it because you wanted to wear your fancy outfit, and sing the songs you haven’t sung in two years? Did you want a “normal” Easter because you’re afraid of what would happen to YOUR church if you didn’t?
The Ace Up Your Sleeve is Really a Snake
You need to know I’ve spent my lifetime in the Church. I gave my soul to the system, and I know it forwards, backwards and sideways.
I have watched church after church use Children’s and Youth programming as evangelism tools. If you have a counter, that’s it. “But my children need the church, and I’m willing to sacrifice my experience to give it to them.”
Do you know how many grown up adults would probably say that now? Way more than any of us should be comfortable with. That’s not healthy, and that’s not church. Church needs to be for the entire family or it ceases to function as a working Body of Christ.
Let me say what you are really thinking. “I want a Church for all of us, but I see that most of them are not really working, so I’ll find something for the kids because I’m afraid what will happen if I try to fix the problem myself.” Namely, you’ll have to start seriously considering what churches are spiritually feeding your children. You will also have to work, and that’s where God’s Wilderness comes back into play. When we choose to not follow the call to die and be reborn, we become undead, and now we’ve brought our kids into it too.
We communally knew there was a problem. We chose to ignore the problem, and choose to live into the lie. We wanted the lie.
For those who’ve been sitting in those dwindling sanctuaries, and found hope at the full pews last Sunday: Don’t.
Another way to see last Sunday as a Nationwide Palm Sunday. We were the crowds. We were the manic screamers singing a “Hallelujah” that we didn’t realize meant, “Save us!”
If last Sunday was a modern Palm Sunday… Well, it’s going to be a rough ride.
You know what happens when an undead church finally dies?
It stays dead.