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  • Writer's pictureAllison Wilcox

Holy Week: Hosanna!

When they were approaching Jerusalem, at Bethphage and Bethany, near the Mount of Olives, he sent two of his disciples and said to them, “Go into the village ahead of you, and immediately as you enter it you will find tied there a colt that has never been ridden; untie it and bring it. If anyone says to you, ‘Why are you doing this?’ just say this: ‘The Lord needs it and will send it back here immediately.’ ” They went away and found a colt tied near a door, outside in the street. As they were untying it, some of the bystanders said to them, “What are you doing, untying the colt?” They told them what Jesus had said, and they allowed them to take it. Then they brought the colt to Jesus and threw their cloaks on it, and he sat on it. Many people spread their cloaks on the road, and others spread leafy branches that they had cut in the fields. Then those who went ahead and those who followed were shouting,

“Hosanna!    Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord!    Blessed is the coming kingdom of our ancestor David!Hosanna in the highest heaven!”

Then he entered Jerusalem and went into the temple, and when he had looked around at everything, as it was already late, he went out to Bethany with the twelve. ~ Mark 11:1-11

Who were they expecting? Do you remember the line from the song “Hosanna” in Jesus Christ Superstar? “Hosanna, Hey-sanna, Sanna, Sanna Ho-Sanna Hey, Sanna Ho-Sanna...Hey JC, JC won’t you fight for me…”


Fight for me Jesus! Save me! That’s what Hosanna means…it means God save us. God save me! Jesus save me…except in saving me, fight for me. Save me from Roman oppression and tyranny. Save me from an unjust system and illness and poverty and fear.


Be my King like King David was King! Fight for me, Jesus! Fight the Roman oppressors and restore our Kingdom. You’ve told us the Kingdom of God is at hand! Save us and show us!


The crowd has been following Jesus around for the entire gospel of Mark. They’ve been overwhelmed and overjoyed and filled with hope at his mighty deeds of power as he has healed the sick and overcome the demons. They knew his power and knew he could save them.


But they expected the saving to come with strength and might. They expected a warrior king to save them, and when they realized that wasn’t the king they had received, they turned on him and less than a week later they’d be calling for his death.


They wanted David’s Kingdom restored. That’s what they heard when they heard Jesus proclaim the Kingdom of God. And for them, what good was a Kingdom of God breaking into a world where they weren’t victorious over Rome?


Of course, they were right to trust that this king could save them. They just didn’t see how.


Hosanna is the most basic prayer there is. “God Save me” – “God save us.” Have those words been on your lips? Do we still trust that God will save us – especially now when it feels like so much in this world needs saving?


Do we trust God to save us even if the saving isn’t in the way we expect? Do we trust that the Kingdom of God – one which we didn’t expect – is indeed at hand?


Hosanna! Hosanna! God save us and be with us! Save us from a world that is broken in many ways. Save us from violence and illness and domination. Save us from ourselves when we forget we are your children. Remind us that your Kingdom is one of compassion and hope, and help us to trust in that always. Praise to you, our most Holy King! Amen

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