On a rocky, dusty road from Bethpage to Jerusalem, people gather to catch a glimpse of Jesus riding by. Many with him from the start. There are women there. And children too. Folks who can’t walk. Others that can’t see. People overlooked or pushed aside—day laborers, lepers, tax collectors. People others call unclean. All gathered in the crowd. All shouting out “Hosanna.”
Voices ringing through the centuries.
“Hosanna” “Hosanna in the Highest”
We hear the word “Hosanna” and think “Alleluia.” But in doing so, we miss the meaning of the word. We miss the meaning of the day.
Today is not a day for “Alleluias.” Those come later.
Today is a day for “Hosannas”—“Hosannas” from the heart.
“Save us,” the people cried that day. “Save us,” from all that threatens us. “Save us” from taxes that take away our lands. “Save us” from the armies occupying our lands. “Save us” from all pushing us deeper into debt. “Save us,” the people cried that day. “Save us” from those elbowing us out of the way. “Save us” from the demons that haunt us. “Save us.”
“Hosanna”—it’s not a shout of joy. It’s a cry of hope coming from deep within broken human hearts. “Hosanna”—a cry starting in pain and ending in possibility.
And don’t we, too, don’t we cry out “Hosanna,” save us?
“Save us” from the feeling of being stretched beyond our capacity to cope.
“Save us” from the clutter of our lives.
“Save us,” from the daily struggle just to stay afloat.
“Save us,” from the loneliness and emptiness a deep loss often brings.
“Save us,” from depression and despair.
“Save us from anger, save us from resignation, save us from indifference.”
“Hosanna, save us.”
This week, I’ve been hearing hosannas. I’ve been hearing a chorus of hosannas. The hosannas of people I know well and the hosannas of people I’ve never met.
“Save us,” cry people who daily walk the streets of Albuquerque because they have no home in which to rest, no place to sleep at night.
“Save us,” cry the hungry in our midst.
“Hosanna, save us,” say people giving up the search for work.
“Save us,” cry those who harvest our food, who make our meals, who clean our houses.
“Hosanna, save us, is the call.”
That call to Jesus, that Hosanna, is also a call to you and me.
We are called, you and I, to respond to the pain and deep needs we encounter in our lives.
I think that’s what this week is all about. A call to take up the solidarity of the cross. A call to respond to the Hosannas that punctuate our days.