‘Hosanna’ by Todd Harm (Parish Councillor)
Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Matthew 21:9
In the past fortnight the attention of many has been drawn to the celebrity antics of ‘The Slap That Shook the World’ at the Oscars and the social fallout that spilled over into the Grammy Awards soon after. Predictably, most social media platforms have been abuzz with commentary that disparages or celebrates resorting to violence in defence of a loved one … but the problem is: all the commentary has happened against the backdrop of an horrific conflict in central Europe whereby thousands of civilians have seemingly had no choice but to resort to violence in defence of their loved ones and their beloved country. In Ukraine, whole towns and cities are surrounded or occupied by a foreign army, and the citizenry is at best ‘on edge’, at worst, terrified for their lives.
Jerusalem, at the time of Jesus, was not dissimilar to this. Between a Roman garrison patrolling the streets to suppress food riots, the machinations of the ‘client-king’, Herod Antipas, and the deadly political campaign maintained by the Jewish High Priests and Pharisees against the alleged new ‘King of the Jews’, the city of 55,000 that Jesus rode into on Palm Sunday some two millennia ago was a powder keg about to explode. How glorious is it then, that as our Messiah entered the city, the populace chose to greet him by laying down palm fronds before him; palm fronds signifying his goodness and, while no one knew it at the time, his ultimate victory over sin and death on the cross.
While we cannot hope to fathom the depth and range of emotions Jesus must have felt as he sat astride that donkey, acknowledging the resounding cries of adoration, praise and joy encapsulated in the word, “Hosannah!”, we can take a moment this Sunday to focus on our eternal “Solution”, and let our daily problems go for a moment.
Loving God, as we enter Holy week, turn our hearts again to Jerusalem, and to the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Stir up within us the gift of faith that we may not only praise him with our lips but may follow him in the way of the cross.