A swath of old-school printer paper (with the holes all along the edges) spanned the kitchen. My oldest son sprawled on the floor, marker in hand. Drawings of swords and pyramids, planes and tents, fires and ships covered the paper in both directions. He met my quizzical look with a wry smile. “It’s a timeline. You know, people have basically just been fighting each other since the beginning of time.” Selecting a grey marker, he went back to work coloring a castle.
He spoke truth.
Ever since Adam and Eve, God’s people have been divided, wandering, struggling. The story of their search for fulfillment and God’s passionate pursuit of them is the story of our salvation. He seeks us through time, across deserts, through captivity, enslavement, famine, and war. Despite the lengths He goes to in order to bring us back to Him, we persist in going our own way. We ignore His prophets. We look up from our interests to briefly notice His signs and wonders on our behalf, and then we go right back to what we were doing before and forget.
But God isn’t done. This story isn’t finished. He finally sends Jesus, His only begotten Son, to bring humanity back to Him. Jesus, the biggest, most unmissable sign of God’s great love for His people, will finally unite us. Won’t He?
God’s dream was to bring us all together, for us to be His people, for Him to be our God. Yet even when Jesus was walking the earth, healing and performing miracles, the people didn’t unite around Him. Caiaphas, the high priest, prophesied what would finally have to happen: "it is better for you that one man should die instead of the people, so that the whole nation may not perish" (John 11:49).
Tomorrow Holy Week begins. We’ll hear the story all over again—Jesus’ betrayal, His suffering, His death. But we know something our spiritual ancestors didn’t: we know the outcome. Death won’t defeat Jesus. God never gives up. And He still wants to gather us all to Him, to draw every single one of us close to His side, and never let us go.
The USCCB offers insights into reading the Bible and appreciating the journey of the relationship between God and His people.
Abbey Dupuy is the Assistant Theological Editor for Blessed is She and writes her life as a homeschooling mama of four frequently barefoot children. She muses about imperfect parenting, practicing gratitude, and celebrating the liturgical year with her young family on her blog. In her spare time, she enjoys running, gardening, coffee, and cookbooks, not usually at at the same time. You can find out more about her here. She is the author of our Blessed Conversations: The Virtues study found here.