Holy Week a week of restlessness

The great 4th century bishop, Saint Augustine, wrote “You have made us for yourself, O Lord, and our hearts are restless until they find their rest in you.”

Holy Week, the week leading up to Easter Sunday, is, for me, a week of restlessness. Every year during Holy Week, we as Christians remember and re-live the steady march to Golgotha and the crucifixion of Jesus.

This week, Christians throughout the world gather in silent, candlelit churches, experiencing again the overwhelming gift of a God who, we believe, loved us so much that he became one of us and died as one of us.

Holy Week is a restless time of trying to sort out in our minds how God could possibly love us in all our messiness, despite our continued abuse and neglect of neighbor and world, our blindness to the needs of others, our own pettiness and greed.

Jesus lived with us, showing us how we should treat each other, affirming God’s priority for the poor and weak and others on the fringes of society, and living a life of self-giving all the way to the cross.

Even after his example of a life fully lived, we still don’t “get it” most of the time but God’s love for us is relentless and God continues to woo us into relationship.

As this holiest of weeks progresses, our restlessness grows.

We re-live the triumphant entry into Jerusalem, the arrest and trial, the humiliation and the painful sting of a soldier’s whip.

Our hearts grow heavier as we walk again with him the familiar steps to the cross, encounter the darkness as he takes his final breath, feel the coldness of the tomb.

You made us for yourself, O Lord, but we have walked apart from you and our hearts are restless.

Yet even as we sit engulfed in Holy Week shadows, a ray of Easter stabs the darkness and flickers hopefully on the horizon.

The light will shine again. Resurrection will happen. Our hearts will find their rest…in you, O Lord.

For more information, go to Stcatherinesinchelsea.org.

The Rev. John Mark Ford is rector at St. Catherine’s Episcapal Church, Chelsea. Contact him at 618-8367 or rector@stcatherinesinchelsea.org