Bishop Ward reminds us to sing hosannas and praise to Jesus as the crowds did when he entered Jerusalem to begin Holy Week.
Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord. Hosanna in the highest.
Very soon, we will hold palm branches high and sing hosannas. We will welcome Jesus to Jerusalem for the last week of His life and we will then follow him to the cross and finally greet him risen by the empty tomb.
The green of the palm branches are signs of victory and honor and strength and majesty. Green surrounds us here in North Carolina and if Jesus were to ride here, we might wave pine branches or magnolia branches, rooted as we are in this particular place. As Jesus comes to us in this holy week, let us receive him in the place that we find ourselves. We are like the Gospel writers each hearing and telling and experiencing the story uniquely and personally.
Matthew focuses a bit more on the chaos around Jesus as he enters the city. Mark focuses a bit more on the donkey that no one has ever ridden before. Luke focuses on the possibility that stones will cry out if people cease to give praise to God and John focuses on the danger ahead, the cross which looms and we hear the words, “all the world has gone after him,” words which threaten those who seek to take Jesus’s life.
Russ Richey has written a wonderful book, “Methodism in the American Forest” and he describes the sylvan experience of our forebearers, meeting in piney groves, in hickory groves and shady groves. Our churches bear these names even now after many many years.
Let us wave branches high wherever we find ourselves. The proximity of the nearest tree is a reminder of God’s strength and goodness. Let us hold branches high and sing hosannas as Jesus comes.