My favorite part of Palm Sunday is imagining how it must have felt to be in that cheering throng that welcomed Jesus into Jerusalem. The sharp sunshine. The barely contained dust. The fronds snapping as they were waved, and then crunching under the feet of the donkey. The happy jostling as people strained for a glimpse of the Savior. And, most of all, the resounding cries of “Hosanna!”
What a joy it must have been to raise your voice to greet Him. What a blessing to hear His voice in return. How powerful it must have been to listen as your voice melted into the thunderous harmony, as hundreds and hundreds of voices combined in welcome and appeal.
Today, we regularly meet for worship and raise our voices together in prayer, praise, and song. It is still powerful and moving, a potent reminder of our union as the body of Christ. But, on this Palm Sunday, let us remember the power we have to raise our voices as one beyond our Sundays together.
We are embroiled in a time when fear and hate dominate public conversation, when people are all too ready to call each other names, tear each other down, and fan the flames of discord. We cannot let those bitter voices go unanswered. We have a duty, as the people of God, to raise our voices in response, to speak together of love and forgiveness and unity. We must look for ways, through conversation, service, and prayer, to speak light into the darkness, to make sure the word of God is heard above all else.
During the procession, the Pharisees called out to Jesus that He should quiet the people. Jesus told them the stones would cry out in their stead, and the people continued to sing. Let us continue to sing, to proclaim our love for the Savior and each other, to spread our joy in the Gospel, and to fill the skies with praise.
“Lift every voice and sing Till earth and heaven ring, Ring with the harmonies of Liberty; Let our rejoicing rise, High as the list'ning skies, Let it resound loud as the rolling sea.”
James Weldon Johnson, 1900