It is increasingly familiar to observe the Sunday before Easter as Passion / Palm Sunday, noting that many people do not attend pubic worship during Holy Week. If we pre-empt something of the passion of Christ at the beginning of the week, we encourage folk to pause to reflect at the foot of the cross and don't allow them to skip straight from "Hosanna, blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord" to "Alleluia, He is risen!" without confronting "My God, why have you forsaken me".
I wrote this hymn a few years ago to draw people from the Triumphal Entry towards Gethsemane and Golgotha. It is set to "Finlandia", a tune missing from our current hymn book, "Rejoice and Sing". Please feel free to reproduce it for use it in worship on a non commercial basis, but do comment to let me know if you do.
Not on a war horse, but a humble donkey,
the Son of Man came to Jerusalem;
great city full of faithful Hebrew pilgrims
received one more as she had often done.
And yet this time, Christ journeyed into danger;
to be betrayed, to suffer and to die.
They paved his way with scattered cloaks and branches
- a prelude to the coming victory.
Crowds of disciples shouting out their praises;
"Glory to God! Hosanna to the King!
Bless'd is the one, Jesus has come to save us."
The very stones would cry out if they could.
His friends knew not the horrors that awaited,
imagining an end to Roman rule.
Instead God's plan was moving to fruition;
his Son would gain a greater vict'ry still.
Not by the might of gathered rebel armies,
but strength of purpose and submissive will.
So let us pause, as we this day remember
our humble King who gathers up the lost;
how great his trial, how strong the love he shows us;
how weak a faith that does not count the cost.
We walk with him, come through into the city;
one final meal, a symbol for God's grace.
Out into darkness, Jesus' time is coming;
a kiss to greet, a sign - "this is the one"
The soldiers mock, yet still our Lord is silent;
the sentence passed and all our crimes his own.
Christ hoisted high, humanity is ransomed;
through Jesus' death, we all are given life!
David M. Miller © 2010 The Millery
(Image by Corinne Vonaesch from http://www.c-vonaesch.ch/ from a series entitled "Gospel of John")