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Thoughts for Palm Sunday

Palm Sunday – Hosanna.

“Hosanna” rang out the cry from the crowds gathered in Jerusalem that day. Hosanna means “Save us.”

When the crowds cried out Hosanna – they may well have been alluding to Psalm 118 – a psalm looking forward to the coming of God’s Messiah. In that psalm, verse 25,  is a phrase “hoshiya na”  translated “ Save now!”

“Save now, I pray, O Lord; O Lord, I pray, send now prosperity” (Psalm 118:25).

The long awaited Messiah was promised as a saviour for the people and as Jesus rode upon the young ass that day, some in the crowds at least saw in him the one who would save him. At last their hopes were raised that the rule of Rome would be broken and they would be a freed people again.

Not only would they be free, but also it was foretold that they would again be a mighty nation. So they pinned their hopes and dreams on this man riding into Jerusalem.  To Jesus was given the welcome a conqueror would expect; yet they had no inkling of the type of conqueror he would be. As the crowd shouted “Hosanna” they were  calling for God’s hand to move against their oppressors now that the Messiah had arrived in Jerusalem.

For Jesus to ride into Jerusalem in this fashion was completely unexpected by the authorities. They were anticipating that he might enter secretly and his whereabouts be kept secret.

But for Jesus this was the last time he would publicly present the message of God’s love to such an audience, it was love’s final appeal. He knew such an entrance would bring his appearance to the notice of the authorities, but he had moved past such restraints. His time was short, and his heart ached for all  he would leave behind. They deserved one more opportunity to be challenged, to hear the voice of God’s love and forgiveness his life presented. How often had he called them saying, “Come to me all of you who are tired, and in me find your rest”? He had invited all who were overburdened with the complications of life to let go of them in his presence, yet there were so many who had not heard, or had not understood.

As he rode into Jerusalem, across the strewn palm branches, he knew he was moving into a trap, for as a devout Jew he would be required to spend the time of the Passover within the limits of Jerusalem and certain surrounding villages. Though the authorities would not take long to locate him wherever he went, he still had work to complete and he was intent on that. He had friends to see, disciples who had many lessons yet to learn, and there would always be those who sought healing for physical and spiritual ills. With the cheers of the crowd still ringing in his ears, he went up to the Temple to address the sharp trading practices there. The next days, the days we remember as Holy week we witness the storm clouds of opposition gathering, the cries of Hosanna turn into cries of “ crucify” … the scene is pieced together for the Son of God to be subjected to the worse suffering that humanity could mete out to another human being.

So often we need to cry out “Hosanna” to Jesus. “ Save us”!

Asking that he come and save us from troublesome events in our lives,from endless calls on our time and patience.

We need to find our peace and security with our Saviour, a place where we may rest in confidence, knowing that Jesus has our affairs in hand. We maybe need to be saved from addictive habits, from the racking tears that throb through our body in times of separation and grief. Maybe we need to be saved from our complacency when we believe that we were meant to live in a comfortable society, and forget that there are many who have no food, no home and no future.

Perhaps we need to be saved from our habit of judging our own behaviour against those of people around us rather than judging it by God’s perfection. Maybe we need to be saved from excuses that prevent us offering forgiveness to those who have harmed us.

Jesus’ name indeed means “ God saves” – he longs to heal us, to make us whole, and for us in turn to offer our lives as a catalyst for healing and peacemaking in a fractured world.  Today let us echo “Hosanna” with all our hearts.

Prayer: Jesus, you journeyed into Jerusalem on a peaceful animal, a donkey, offering peace to the world. Teach me today that I cannot live without your peace, healing and love. Amen.

April 16, 2011 - Posted by | Uncategorized

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