In the midst of my middle school years, the Cranberries released their famous single, Zombie. At the time, I was going through enough personal crises that I did not fully pay attention to the song (I’m very sorry to say). In the past year, the Bad Wolves released an updated version that pointed out how true the song still is. No longer is it just about Ireland anymore, either. Now we are looking at a world gone mad.
The song states, “Another broken mother’s heart is taking over. When violence causes silence, we must be mistaken… But you see, it’s not me, it’s not my family. In your head, in your head they are crying.” In other words, sure bad things might be happening somewhere to someone, but it doesn’t affect my life so why does it matter?
Except it does. As a world-wide culture, we are attempting to roll back decades, even centuries, of work breaking down the walls of racism, sexism, discrimination, bigotry, fascism, and general hate. At least one of those affects every single one of us or someone close to us. Many of us may not face tanks, bombs, guns, or drones in our everyday lives – but we do face the daily violence we do to one another, both individually and systemically.
All this to say, we cannot be zombies anymore, just going along with what we are told to believe. We cannot ignore the pain and suffering of those around us. We cannot intentionally forget our own complicity in it.
Two thousand years ago, a wise teacher came who highlighted the ways that violence impacts real lives, real people, real children of God. For his incredible works and miracles and healings – they killed him. He did rise again, proving evil will not win. And it is our job, as his followers, to carry on his message and work.
In our worship this coming weekend, we will use some of the words from the Confession of 1967, which states, “Congregations, individuals, or groups of Christians who exclude, dominate, or patronize others, however subtly, resist the Spirit of God and bring contempt on the faith which they profess.” Though all of us have been guilty at some point, we can no longer allow ourselves to give into the evil that so insidiously works among us.
We must do better. We can do better. The hope is that the admitting there’s a problem is the first step to recovery. It may be a long road ahead, but it is time we get to work on accepting the Spirit of God at work among us – empowering us to continue to break down walls and build up people.