One of the popular shows on TV right now is about the zombie apocalypse. Every week the zombies shuffle back and forth across the land, mindlessly continuing on, following whatever sound they hear or person they see.
The zombies don’t think for themselves. They don’t believe, teach, or confess anything. Herds of zombies wander to and fro every week, empty inside, like a flock of birds. If one zombie turns down a path, the rest follow.
Some churches are full of zombies, too. They blindly follow the will of the pastor, believing that HIS beliefs are what they need, that HE knows the right way, and all they have to do is show up, listen and do what he says, and then they are saved.
Belief is not a passive act. It doesn’t grow and take shape by the acceptance of what a pastor, church leader, or other people say. This is why the creeds begin with the word, “I”. The creeds are not just another part of the liturgy every week because somebody in the church decided hundreds of years ago to put them after the readings and before the sermon. Instead, they are our confession of our faith, a personal and true statement of what you and I believe as Christians in the Church of our Lord.
Romans 10:9-10: “Because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved.”
What Romans describes is not an act of blind acceptance. It is an active statement, something we can do with a faith that is our own, given to us through Baptism by the Holy Spirit in the washing of our hearts.
Don’t think I’m eliminating the pastor’s role in the church. He is here to strengthen our beliefs and guide us. But his faith is not our own, and his beliefs will not save you or I. Instead, his words in the pulpit follow the creed so that we can use our confession to evaluate his, to ensure that he speaks of Christ and Him crucified for our salvation.
So, confess out loud with your whole heart your faith in our God. Don’t be a zombie in church. They usually miss out on the donuts and coffee, anyway.