For the Israelites Hosanna was a distress signal; it was their S.O.S. In Hebrew Hosanna means “O save!” When the people welcomed Jesus into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday they were begging and pleading to be saved. They were in need of healing – and they knew it.
This Sunday we will follow those first disciples as we march into the sanctuary crying out our distress signal, and offering our great desire to be saved, healed and made whole. After waving our palms and hearing some Psalms we will be invited to approach healing stations to receive our balm: prayers and anointing oil.
What better day to recognize that the palms and the cross cannot be separated. The palms and the cross lead to one another, and each are an outgrowth of the other. Our crosses are rooted in our palms; through Jesus God transforms our crosses into balms.
Our Lenten journey of healing reaches its climax this Holy Week. Our palm procession on Sunday is our preparation for the spiritually painful week to come. Yet even as we enter into Jesus’ suffering, let us recognize our own. I offer encouragement in the coming week not to deny your own pain, but to share it with the One who is able to bear all pains; for this is the week he proved it.
Finally, let our prayers for healing be as abundant as God’s grace. May our prayers bring comfort, hope, and justice throughout all of God’s creation from Wilmington to Florida to Afghanistan. May our prayers surround and abound, and may they bring…