Is it religious illiteracy alone that makes many people refer to this week as ‘Easter Week’? In a sense, those who do are right even though their usage is contrary to Christian tradition. We have an annual remembrance of the events leading up to the passion, death and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we know that precisely because of his passion, death and resurrection, everything has changed — for ever. We are indeed an Easter people, living in the light of the resurrection, even today, when the streets leading into Jerusalem, which yesterday resounded to hosannas, are filled with dusty, trampled greenery and Jesus himself has disappeared from sight.
I think that temporary absence of Jesus from public view is an important element of Holy Week but we need to hold onto our Easter faith. On Maundy Thursday we shall see Jesus and his disciples again, and after that, he will be centre-stage, so to say. But for now, he is hidden. We do not see him or hear him. As the apostle says, ‘We walk by faith, not by sight.’ (2 Corinthians 5.7) These few days of apparent absence are the time when we must each make a decisive choice. It is easy to follow a conquering hero, to be one of the crowd applauding a triumphant entry, but to be a follower of someone who makes no great éclat, who is at odds with the establishment, whom we don’t even see, that is much harder. No wonder many give up at this point.
But for us, today, tired as we are, leaderless as we think we are, we must choose Jesus.