I know, I know. It is a weird title. And maybe this is just the overflow of a week of cabin fever.
The early church is said to have met in catacombs. According to Wikipedia, Catacombs are ancient, human-made subterranean passageways for burial or protection. This was a gathering place for Christians. To share. To celebrate. To worship. And they met here because they needed to hide.
Now, let’s pretend that we walked in on an early church meeting. There they were hanging out, breaking the bread, drinking the wine, singing the songs, sharing, loving…
then suddenly, the dead in the catacombs came to life. As if they awoke from a deep slumber. I would think that the church would be celebrating the work of God. Unless…
those who came back to life looked as if they were poised to begin the zombie revolution. And that they were going to start by taking out any who were worshipping the most high. At this point, you would see Christians scatter from the catacombs. People sprinting away from the scene leaving the songs, bread, and wine in the tomb because people valued life more than this Sunday’s ritual. We weren’t created to hope for death. Especially death from a zombie. At least that isn’t the way I want to go out.
Isn’t it interesting though that we often live in the catacombs? By this I mean that we have put to death our sinful selves, and we have been made alive with Christ. Yet, we often continue to spend time around the sinful self that we buried. With my sin, it feels like I’ve buried my sinful self a million times over. Life is happening outside. Growth and hope and beauty are all outside. Yet, how often do we continue to live life in the catacombs. We put our sinful self to death, yet we refuse to leave the catacombs where we buried our sin and in so doing miss the fresh breath of life in the world outside.
Like the way that he chooses to be debt free, but continues to ponder all the things that he doesn’t have money to buy.
Or the way that she chose to live fully in the love of God, but spends all her time on her own in thought over how the next relationship would be.
Or how he chooses to live in purity, but he keep his computer in his room.
We put our old selves to death, but wait in the catacombs. Staring at our old selves, sometimes missing the momentary satisfaction it brings.
And sometimes, the dead arise. A zombie revolution. And the very self we put to death comes back to take our new life to the grave.
What is the key? Where is the change? How do you get out of the catacombs?
Paul wrote one time to a group of people who were living in the catacombs of their souls, “Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God.Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.” Colossians 3:1-4
Set your affections and your attentions on Christ. Because as long as you are staring at the burial plot, your desire has not changed. And so we must continue to let our hearts desire Jesus and our minds be fixed on Jesus.
Life is happening outside. Come out of the catacombs.