Lent Readings: Psalm 118:1-2, 19-29, Luke 19:28-40, John 12:12-16
Easter regularly reminds the Church of its loss of place in society. The core Jesus stories are not told or known. Our public schools are often willing to have Christian seminars at Christmas, not Easter. Our sadness as followers of Jesus is Easter makes no difference to most people’s lives.
The story told at Easter makes a massive difference to Christians. We say to the world, without Easter, there would be no Christmas. Without Easter, there is no forgiveness with God. Without Easter, there is only insignificant hope. Without Easter, there is barely a whisper of a greater love. Yet people pass by our parades and placards as Easter makes no difference to most people’s lives.
The day Jesus entered Jerusalem and crowds shouted “Hosanna” (Luke 19:28-40) was the beginning of a Holy Week for Jews. This was the week of Passover, a festival celebrating God’s miraculous rescue of Israel from Egypt. Jews from across the country and nations gathered in Jerusalem to celebrate. At the start of this week, the Roman Governor Pilate would make a point of entering Jerusalem with his war horse and legions of soldiers to assert Roman power over the Jews. On the same day as Pilate enters Jerusalem by one gate, Jesus enters Jerusalem by another, riding a donkey. This is a powerful and important contrast. We may wish we could enter the gates of our time like Pilate with power, with people paying attention. Yet, Jesus enters by the opposite gate – riding on a colt as God’s King. Reading Jesus’ grieving words (Luke 19:41-44) it appears even the first Easter made no difference to most people’s lives.
As we approach our own Holy Week, we acknowledge Christ is King. Jesus is in fact always Lord and King each day of every year. But this week offers a fresh opportunity to welcome him again, and to prepare for his terrible humiliation and exaltation for the world he loves. Our world may fail to recognise the significance of Easter, we do not. Like those first disciples, we proclaim at the opposite gate, Jesus makes every difference to everyone’s lives.