Hosanna! (Save Us!)
(Posted April 15, 2019)
"The measure of a man is what he does with power."-- Plato, 4th century B.C.E.
I always love the scent of Palm Sunday – entering the Sanctuary to all those fresh greens makes the whole place smell like Spring. It is a deceptively happy celebration, all of us welcoming Jesus in our own way (while the kids manage to turn their palms into swords). We invite the sounds of Hosanna that we have not heard since Lent began on March 6, nearly 40 days ago.
Services Begin at 10 a.m.
Please join us!
“Hosanna!” We shout, thinking that it’s the same thing as “Hooray.” But in reality it means, “Save us!” Save us from the evil Powers that be. Save us from poverty, injustice, from being mere ciphers in the vast Roman Empire’s domination over everything that lived and breathed. But if we really understand Palm Sunday, we will really be crying out “save us from US.”
The fascinating thing is that Jesus completely planned out his entry into Jerusalem, in a way that those people along the roadside would instantaneously understand. Everyone in that day understood the passage from the prophet Zechariah, who hundreds of years before had told them that their new king would enter Jerusalem humbly, on the back of a young donkey. But when Jesus entered Jerusalem, the people were cheering, not because they expected the arrival of the man who would teach them how to love and forgive and share with one another. They cheered because they expected a powerful ruler, one who would crush the Roman Empire with violence. This is what Jesus saw in the faces of those adoring bystanders. After three whole years of preaching around Judea, after countless miracles and lessons, Jesus realized they still didn’t get it. And, sometimes, we don’t seem to get it either, after 2,000 years.
So, just after this scene of entry is complete, there is another moment where Jesus reaches the top of the hill on that little donkey – a place where he can look over all of Jerusalem. It is here that Jesus bursts into tears, weeps for a Jerusalem that still can’t or won’t understand, a Jerusalem whose Temple will be destroyed in a few short years, whose spirit will be crushed. He steps down from the little donkey. The rest of the journey will be on foot. And at the end of this week to come, his feet will leave the ground as he is hoisted up on the cross, once again on a hill with a view, where he can see the City that did not understand the King that God had delivered to them.
This Sunday we enter the Sanctuary to the smell of Spring and the shouts of hope, and we leave in silence, as all of us journeying with Jesus make that turn toward Calvary, toward Holy Week, but also toward Easter Morning. Join us this Sunday. -- Pastor Pat Kriss