Holy Week has always been marked by Closing Shop.
Holidays would be declared. Businesses would force their employees to go on leaves. Even Greenhills would, for at least a day or two, put its pirated head in the sand. Radio stations would go on static. Before the era of ubiquitous cable, TV stations would show nothing but the The Ten Commandments and Jesus films (all Biblical characters seemed to have British accents). In the pre-wifi age, kids certainly saw nothing “good” about Good Friday, and Black Saturday was indeed dark.
We may have confused some of our theology with tradition, but closing shop at least taught us something that Holy Week itself was trying to teach us. It is REST. Not just the Boracay-on-Holy-Week, or Easter Tagaytay Break, or even the Pirated DVD Marathon, but REST as interpreted by The Man Himself – Jesus.
When God created the world, he rested on the seventh day, thereby instituting the Sabbath. Instead of resting, wouldn’t he have been more productive if he had spent the seventh day still creating? With his vast wisdom and omnipotence, think of the potentially exciting new stuff God missed creating!
But he was teaching us something else. Something he most probably deemed better than some newfangled narwhal. He reserved one day of the week for shutting up, for cherishing what we had, and remembering the one from whom it all came from.
Millennia later, His Son would teach us something about that, too. He was laid to rest after he suffered and died for our sins. For his disciples, the wait must have been torturous. What’s going to happen to us now? Is this really the end? But like the disciples, we miss the point. God wasn’t dead. He was saying, ‘Nuff Said. He was now teaching us a bit more about resting in His Love, instead of trying to earn it.
Resting isn’t a very modern thing to do, really. In an age that lives at the speed of one’s internet connection, missing a beat, even for Sick Leave, could be costly. Overtime becomes Regular Hours. Deadlines are always yesterday. And when we have to wait, we’re more fidgety than a mouse. We’ve forgotten how to sit still. We’re all living with some undiagnosed form of communal ADD. Creation and our Re-Creation in Christ teaches us that the crucial part of living, is breathing. Holy Week’s closed shops teach us to shut up, and remember from whom it all came from.
And that is in whom we rest. That is what resting means, I guess, in the cosmic sense. Resting our heads on a power bigger than we can imagine. On a Love we can not win, but that which he freely gives.
He will spin Saturn into its next orbit without you having to move a fiber of your finger. Can you not be still for a day and remember who birthed and re-birthed you?
With deadlines and commitments and agreements and trysts and dinners and bar mitzvahs and God-knows-freakin’-what, it gets tougher and tougher to do it every year. Maybe that’s part of the sacrifice: Closing shop to the outside world so we can take a good inventory of what’s inside.