Who You Shoutin' About?
When I started preparing this sermon, I couldn’t get pass, “Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest heaven!” This is probably because it is so like the song we sing in Catholic Masses, “Holy, holy, holy, Lord God of Hosts, heaven and earth are full of your glory. Hosanna in the highest. Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord. Hosanna in the highest.” I got stuck here, because I often wondered why we sing this in the Mass. And all was revealed when I focused on the word, hosanna.
Hosanna comes from two Hebrew words Hebrew words yasha and anna
yasha which means save, rescue, deliver
anna which means beg, beseech
combining the two words we get ‘Please save’
Going back to the Catholic Mass, this song is sung right before the priest begins the prayers that change ordinary bread and wine into the body and blood of Jesus the Christ. And so the song, called the Sanctus, is a song of praise and a song for deliverance.
As a song of praise, the people were acknowledging that Jesus is THE king in the line of David. As a king, they were asking for help from the oppressions they were experiencing. They were shouting, “we are depending on you to save us, protect us. To make it clear what they were asking, people started waving palms and laying their coats on the road —laying out the “red” carpet for Jesus. If we give you praise and honor, you will do right by us. We are desperate—so desperate that I lay my coat on the ground for you to trod upon. I am willing to give up what is important to me.
Who You Shoutin’ About? Who are you laying out the red carpet for? As a culture, we lay out the red carpet for celebrities, people we hold in high esteem because of some talent/gift that they have. We lift them up, placing them on pedestals and then we want them to do stuff for us, to take away our problems. We think that they should take notice of us because we elevated them to that status. And because of this, companies/individuals trying to sell their products, like door-to-door salesmen, use celebrities to do it —Celebrity Endorsements. By laying down the red carpet for celebrities we throw up our hands. We give over our own power.
- We shout Hallelujah, but we don’t want to be on the committee.
- We shout Hallelujah, but we don’t want to make a commitment.
- We shout Hallelujah, but we don’t want to be a witness.
- We shout Hallelujah, but we don’t want to step out of our comfort zone.
- We shout Hallelujah, but we don’t want to get involved.
When we shout Hallelujah for anyone other than God, we get into trouble. But there is good news. “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.” This phrase comes out of Psalm 118, a psalm of thanksgiving. [Go to the psalm.]
By using this verse of the psalmist, Matthew is calling us to
- thanksgiving in the midst of sorrow;
- thanksgiving in the midst of pain;
- thanksgiving in the midst of oppression.
To me, Palm Sunday reminds us to wave palms around and give testimony to what Jesus has done already in our lives and to ask Jesus to continue to save us, rescue us, deliver us. Hosanna in the highest. Save us O Lord we pray in the highest way.