On Sunday he rode on a donkey into Jerusalem;
The people shouted Hosanna! The King of the Jews, Amen!
They threw down coats and branches as on the donkey he came;
On Sunday he rode on a donkey into Jerusalem.
Song 19 Praise to the Lord, the Almighty, the King of creation
- Praise to the Lord, the Almighty, the King of creation;
O my soul, praise him, for he is thy health and salvation;
All ye who hear,
Brothers and sisters draw near,
Praise him in glad adoration.
- Praise to the Lord, who doth prosper thy work and defend thee;
Surely his goodness and mercy here daily attend thee;
What the Almighty can do,
He who with love doth befriend thee.
- Praise to the Lord, who, when tempests their warfare are waging,
Who, when the elements madly around thee are raging,
Biddeth them cease,
Turneth their fury to peace,
Whirlwinds and waters assuaging.
- Praise to the Lord, who, when darkness of sin is abounding,
Who, when the godless do triumph, all virtue confounding,
Sheddeth his light,
Chaseth the horrors of night,
Saints with his mercy surrounding.
- Praise to the Lord! O let all that is in me adore him!
All that hath life and breath, come now with praises before him!
Let the amen
Sound from his people again;
Gladly for aye we adore him.
Joachim Neander (1650-80),
trs Catherine Winkworth (1827-78)
Read Luke 19:28b-40
37 As soon as he got to the bottom of the Mount of Olives, the crowds of his followers shouted with a loud outburst of ecstatic joy over all the mighty wonders of power they had witnessed. 38 They shouted over and over, “Highest praises to God for the one who comes as King in the name of the Lord! Heaven’s peace and glory from the highest realm now comes to us!”
For the Jews, the Passover was an exciting time, remembering the time when God freed them from slavery in Egypt. It was a time when families came together to worship and share a special meal. Imagine the huge effort many people put into the preparations for Christmas, both at home and in church, setting the scene, preparing a special meal for all the guests. Imagine the anticipation and you have some idea of the importance of Passover. Just as people travel many miles to be home for Christmas, thousands of Jews would gather from all over the world to celebrate Passover in Jerusalem at least once in a lifetime.
Into this excitement came Jesus, riding on a donkey. The crowds went wild, waving palm branches (a traditional greeting) and laying their cloaks in the road, so smooth the donkey’s path. Some would have recognised the fulfilment of a prophecy: “See, your king comes to you, righteous and victorious, lowly and riding on a donkey” (Zechariah 9:9).
Others were probably cheering Jesus for the wonderful things they had seen him do. On any occasion like this, there would also be many people that were just carried away with the excitement of the occasion.
It’s less likely this year that we will get carried away with the jollity of Easter, since we will be isolated from family and friends. Instead, we need look for ways to understand, appreciate who Jesus is and to respond in gladness to him as he meets us where we are.
When Anne is told by Marilla that she can stay at Green Gables, she replies, “I’m glad as glad can be.”
What are you glad about today? Write down three things that make you glad and thank God for them.
Make some mini palm leaves, and stick them to a mirror or fridge to remind you to sing glad songs of praise.
Choose some songs that express your joy and gladness, and sing them out loud. Don’t worry about what other people may think; just enjoy praising God.