Ezekiel 36:26 says that God “will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.” And while that verse is not talking about the reanimation of zombies, you could be forgiven for thinking so if you were at the Georgia State Capitol on May 3. For on that day, zombies from the TV show The Walking Dead crossed paths with Baptists celebrating the National Day of Prayer on May 3.
A number of people in eerie, dirty-looking black clothing were eating on the statehouse lawn when Mike Griffin, public affairs representative for the Georgia Baptist Convention, arrived early to set up for a Facebook Live airing of the noontime National Day of Prayer gathering.
“I thought maybe they were feeding the homeless,” Griffin said.
The National Day of Prayer observance was slated at one end of the capitol building. The crew of The Walking Dead, which airs on the AMC cable channel, had rented the rotunda and the other end of the building, partitioning off the rotunda.
According to the same article, the set-up for the TV show was loud and distracting. However, the tables were turned once the Baptists began praying and singing. “Crew members from The Walking Dead stood at the side of the prayer gathering periodically to check out what was going on.”
Griffin told Baptist Press, “It was kind of an odd moment, to say the least.”
Based on a comic book series of the same name, The Walking Dead has been a massive success for AMC. Set in the post-apocalyptic future after a virus turns the majority of the population into zombies, the show is actually less about zombies and more about how humans pose the most danger to their fellow humans. So, on one level, a mashup of Georgia Baptists and zombies from The Walking Dead makes sense.
Referencing the verse from Ezekiel, Baptists believe that all humans are dead in their sins. Essentially, that means that sinful humans are the real-life walking dead. This condition not only severs the vertical relationship between humans and God, but it also severs the horizontal relationship between humans. Murder, rape, theft, assault, and all acts of violence and oppression of other humans happens because humans are dead in their sins. Humans need their heart of stone turned to heart of flesh. That can only be accomplished through repentance of sins and faith in the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
Regardless of the metaphorical parallels, I doubt that The Walking Dead is building toward a similar solution. To be fair, though, I am behind two seasons.
I’m willing to bet that as strange as a group of zombies seemed to those gathered for prayer, conservative Christians praising and thanking God through prayer and song was just as strange to the cast and crew of The Walking Dead. Lord willing, maybe a few of them will respond to what they heard and witnessed in repentance and faith and have their heart of stone changed to a heart of flesh.