The crowds that went ahead of him and those that followed shouted,
“Hosanna to the Son of David!”
“Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!”[c]
“Hosanna in the highest heaven!”
When Jesus entered Jerusalem, the whole city was stirred and asked, “Who is this?” – Matthew 21
I love Palm Sunday! I love the way Presbyterians try their best to be more effusive when it comes to demonstrating their joy by waving palm branches – albeit tentatively. I love the way the children try to show us how, by parading around the sanctuary with more recognizable enthusiasm.
I love what Palm Sunday represents:
- Christ’s not-so-subtle confrontation of the power structures that control people;
- the beating heart of the New Covenant of Love moving to the central stage in Jerusalem;
- the presentation of an alternative to the choking limitations of religious legalism, the brutal oppression of Rome, and the soul-killing repression of the status quo.
Exuberant and prescient:
That first Palm Sunday was exuberant and prescient, the coming week bookended by two parades, both triumphant in their own way, both representing the truth that the Jesus we follow seldom takes us to comfortable places and always puts us at odds with the power structures that are threatened by the heart of the Jesus message.
Sunday morning I had the privilege of assisting in worship leadership at the traditional service at WFPC. “I don’t see the word Hosanna in the call to worship,” I said to the congregation. “So I am going to say it after what is printed in your bulletin, and then you can respond with Hosanna! I’m going to say it again, maybe two or three times – more if necessary – until we get it right…”
It’s always a thrill when you say something and two hundred or more people laugh out loud! But they got the point. I have honestly never heard hosannas ring with such genuine passion! The shouts of praise literally echoed from the rafters.
So here is my Monday morning question. In light of the rush of joy that was Palm Sunday – and I hope you shouted your hosannas out loud – how are we going to allow Jesus to impact our status quo? What does Jesus want to see die in us so that we may be reborn more transformationally in him?
It’s Holy Week – let’s make it count – DEREK