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Speaking to the Soul: Rest, Lord Christ

Speaking to the Soul: Rest, Lord Christ

Holy Week, Year One

[Go to Mission St Clare for an online version of the Daily Office including today’s scripture readings.]

 

Today’s Readings for the Daily Office:

Psalms 22 (morning) // 40:1-14(15-19), 54 (evening)

Wisdom 1:16-2:1, 12-22

1 Peter 1:10-20

John 13:36-38

Today, Good Friday, will take us to the limit of how far we can follow Jesus. In our gospel passage, Peter is impatient, and he wants to follow Jesus across the barrier between life and death, right on his heels. But Jesus says, “Where I am going, you cannot follow me now.” And Jesus knows not only that Peter will follow his trial and crucifixion at a great distance, but also that Peter will deny him three times before dawn.

Where Jesus is going, we cannot go. At least not right away. What response can we make, then, as followers of Jesus who are stuck where we are? How can we avoid the pitfalls of Peter’s overzealousness? Last Sunday, our choir helped us contemplate a response to Jesus’s death that gives him the space and the lead time to go ahead of us, and the trust that he’ll come back for us.

A chorus from Bach’s Passion of St. Matthew invites us to pause as Jesus crosses over into death, and to simply wish him rest:

“Here yet awhile, Lord, thou art sleeping,

Hearts turn to Thee O Savior blest:

Rest Thou calmly, calmly rest.”

These words go on to declare that death will hold Jesus briefly, but that Jesus will loose death’s bonds. And he will transform death from a prison into “a welcome portal” for us when we do, at last, follow him through death into new life.

So instead of clinging and following too closely, let’s learn like Peter to wait our turn. Let’s ask for Jesus to take the rest he so deserves after bearing the weight of the world and loving us to the end. As the music from St. Matthew’s Passion concludes, “Savior blest, slumber now, and take Thy rest.” He’ll come back. And then we’ll follow.

Lora Walsh blogs about taking risks and seeking grace at A Daily Scandal. She serves as curate of Grace Episcopal Church in Siloam Springs and as director of the Ark Fellows, an Episcopal Service Corps  program sponsored by St. Paul’s in Fayetteville, Arkansas.

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