Saturday, March 27, 2010

hosanna, hosanna

Tomorrow is Palm Sunday. For most of the years of my childhood, Palm Sunday was the first break from the somber hangings and hymns and scriptures of Lent. On Palm Sunday, we briefly raised our voices and our key signatures from minor to major. While I love the word 'hallelujah' or even 'alleluia', the praise evoked by 'hosanna' to my ears sounded more accessible, more earthbound. Our Sunday school lesson pages pictured children, lots and lots of children, in their multi colored shifts and shirts welcoming the Master and Teacher on His donkey. Some stories in the Bible resonate more than others, and the happenings of Palm Sunday could take place in Tarkio. Picture the sleepy village with mostly empty streets; its afternoon in my mind and folks are resting from the heat. Jesus sends the disciples down the hill to the village main and probably only street and has them tell anyone who asks when they untie the donkey, 'the Master has need of him.' I figure I could run into any building in Tarkio in an emergency and ask to borrow a vehicle and folks would offer keys and ask why later....
But some of those same folks were probably in Jerusalem later on. On Palm Sunday Jesus was local boy made good, wow-I-knew-him-when, a celebrity they could relate to even more than a ruler, king, or Messiah. And the frenzy has that ephemeral feeling; too good to last. We can read foreboding into the Easter story; I wonder if that dread was palpable back then.
Because we knew what was coming during Holy Week, I was of two minds when we began to get the little palm crosses at our church on Palm Sunday. First of all, I thought they were neat; I hadn't seen a real palm and enjoyed the waxy but sharp texture of the leaf. On the other hand, why were we celebrating when Good Friday was just around the corner?
Tomorrow we'll listen to the little kids sing their hosannas in church. We'll hope no one gets an eye poked not by just some little palm cross, but by an entire palm frond. With the momentous events of Holy Week upon us, this Sunday is a good time to take a deep breath, step back from our worldly cares and pursuits, sing our praise songs briefly, then meditate on the tremendous willful sacrifice and miraculous result of the Resurrection. Hosanna, all you people.

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