Last week I had Kirk Franklin’s “Hosanna” playing on repeat in my head. Sunday our [incredibly talented] keyboardist played it for me and it continued echoing in my head on Monday and Tuesday. It played on repeat in my headphones on the metro and I even danced a little in my seat. It’s a raucous celebration of Christ – one of my favorite songs, just full to the brim with joy.
And then Wednesday hit.
Wednesday would have been my mom‘s 56th birthday. The day started with me waking up startled and already crying. The morning was full of tears – the hosannas were gone, replaced by the familiar feeling of sorrow. I was immediately knocked back to that place of questioning – even accusing – God. What was the point of this? Why does everyone else seem to be healed or narrowly escape death or disease but not her? Not us? I stood in the early morning cold in the park with my dog, tears streaming down my face, again saying to myself over and over, “How did this happen. How is my mother just gone. How can it be I will never again tell her happy birthday.”
I walked through the train station on Wednesday like I was in a fog. Everything seemed muted and fuzzy and I noticed an acute absence of that joy, that wild praise that had driven my steps earlier in the week. That bursting-with-love heart I had carried had been replaced with the sad bruised one. Even breathing hurt.
And as I trudged through a mass of people, I thought about how walking through pain gives us such a picture of the season of Lent. The disciples themselves knew the “Hosanna” season. They ate with Jesus, they hung on his every word, and they witnessed his triumphal entry into Jerusalem. It was all walk-ups in the bass line and key changes and the pinnacle where the choir hits the impossible note and – can you feel it? That moment where the song hits the point of bursting your heart? That was their moment.
And yet later in the week they felt the deepest grief they had ever known. The One who they had believed to be Messiah was in the ground, His flesh surely rotting. His blood had been expended and He was confirmed dead. The worst had happened – there had been no last minute reprieve. The hosannas were silenced and replaced with mourning and disappointment and a lot of, “What was that about God? What was the point of that? Where are you in this?” It was dark and hopeless and the hosannas were gone. [pullquote]The worst had happened – there had been no last minute reprieve. The hosannas were silenced.[/pullquote]
This Lent season we remember the longing for hope to be renewed. We remember the longing for a resurrection of life. Not just for our loved ones to be with us again, but for death to be conquered in all its forms. We remember the longing to hear the hosannas echoing once again – to return to a place of joy unspeakable.
Jesus was resurrected – the disciples were witnesses to this, and their hosannas still echo in our own time. It is why we cannot keep silent – it is why we have hope beyond this world. It is why, even when we cannot bring forth our own hosannas, we know that there will come a day when the pinnacle of the song of creation will be reached. We wait in hope for the day of our own resurrection when we will burst forth in joy and peace and all creation will join in. Even when our hosannas leave us, we live in hope for their return.