“A very large crowd spread their cloaks on the road, and others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road.
The crowds that went ahead of him and that followed were shouting,
“Hosanna to the Son of David!
Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord!
Hosanna in the highest heaven!””
Matthew 21:8-9 NRSV
Today is Palm Sunday. Holy Week – the final week of Jesus’ life – begins with his entry into Jerusalem. He rides on a donkey and the crowds go wild. They lay their cloaks and palm branches on the ground so that not even the hooves of the donkey on which he rides, touch the dirt of the ground.
The cheer, and wave palm branches and celebrate his coming to the city.
Every year, as we observe an celebrate all the things that take place during these final days of his life, I find myself gripped by something. Some part of the story, or some thought from a theologian about what it all means, or some song lyric that cuts through to the heart of these events. I get a little obsessed. And that’s probably not a bad thing, because that obsession is the thing that carries me through all of the work that this week means for a minister.
This year, it’s the thought that “Hosanna” is a shout of praise, but also an expression that means, “save us.”
I don’t know if the people who were in the crowd really understood what they were doing. But I am fascinated and moved by the thought that simply drawing close to Jesus causes people to spontaneously cry for salvation.
Maybe that is what Worship is all about. Maybe every time we worship – whether or not we can fully articulate it – we are expressing our brokenness and crying out for His healing. Maybe the natural state of the human soul is one of crying out to God, recognizing that we are in need of Salvation, and Jesus is the only One who can give it.
Hosanna in the Highest!