World War Z and Christian Sacrifice

I am spoke in chapel on Wednesday of this week and had so many illustrations. But, considering students didn’t want to sit through an hour-long conversation on the matter, I had to cut out A LOT! Thus goes most of my preaching. Sometimes I get the right amount of illustrations, most of the time I do not.

I spoke about the call to sacrifice because of God’s Presence with us and Christ’s Action for us. I was moved in my own life to not make decisions too hastily because I am more often than not motivated by fear. Fear, as I turned it around in my head for a couple weeks primarily stems from my greater love of self and comfort. This latter piece was my focus in the message.

z9One of the illustrations I had to forego was Brad Pitt’s Gerry Lane in World War Z. I took it out because I thought the video clip may be a little over the top for a chapel message–and it would have eaten up (pun intended) more time than I wanted.

But I find in Gerry Lane a Christ-figure. It’s not too hard to see and, man!, did I want to use this illustration. I opted for John Paton and the Alexandrian Martyrs as my illustrations (opting for reality than fiction–no, I do not believe zombies exist. . . I know. I know.)

Gerry Lane wanted to live the rest of his life without sacrifice. He had already given the best years of his life to covert, anti-terrorism operations. He wanted to spend the rest of his days flipping pancakes for his family–hey, not all that bad of a choice, I might add. He is thrown into the mix when the government pulls him into the operation–manipulated in doing so in order to preserve his family.

Throughout the movie you see people walling themselves up and trying to protect themselves from the zombie onslaught. First in the apartment complex, where the latino family seeks to board up their apartment rather than stay on the move with Gerry. They are killed.

The ship out in the middle of the ocean is a parable of what fear does to you. Isolated. Alone. Imprisoned. You think that you are alive, but you are merely existing. Surviving.

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The Salvation Gates of Jerusalem. This is where the pivotal conversation takes place–at least in my understanding. Gerry is trying to figure out where he ought to go next to get to the bottom of this zombie virus. He is told to forget about “Patient 0” (the origins of the virus). Gerry responds,

“I can’t do that. It’s too late for me to build a wall.”

Stellar! He knew that if this disease was to be conquered it would have to be by getting outside the walls.

How does he finally destroy the enemy and his schemes? He injects himself with a deadly disease. he sacrifices his life so that he might defeat the enemy.

So it is not only through the Gospel of Jesus. It has been orchestrated thus by God that our enemy must be defeated through weakness. The powers and authorities are put to open shame by laying down our lives. This shows that though they kill the body they can never kill the person.

Death is but sleep. When we wake up. When our eyes are opened after this short slumber, we will see raptures of glory we cannot utter now.

We gain life by realizing that we have already died and live forever. . . Right. Now. Eternal life is not for later. Paul seems to indicate that we have already entered overflowing life right now when we die and are resurrected under the reign of ever-living Jesus.

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