Celebrating with post-resurrection eyes

March 20, 2016


palm_crossesPalm Sunday is a celebration surrounded by clouds and rimmed with light. The celebration comes as we stand with the crowds and sincerely cry, “Hosanna!” The clouds close in as we sit with Jesus on the beast. We hear the cries and see the palms, but we also glimpse the fast-approaching future of betrayal and torture and death. Such a future bears down like a suffocating weight. The light burns as we see the resurrection and smell the rekindling of friendships. We savor the joy of blessing others by forgiving them.

Palm Sunday is emotionally and spiritually chaotic: A wise Messiah rides through an adoring but naive crowd, knowing its members welcome him into God’s most traumatic week.

Fortunately, I can view this holiday through post-resurrection eyes and fondly remember my father singing in the choir:

Holy, holy, holy! Lord God Almighty!
Early in the morning our song shall rise to thee;
holy, holy, holy! merciful and mighty,
God in three persons, blessed Trinity!

Holy, holy, holy! All the saints adore thee,
casting down their golden crowns around the glassy sea;
cherubim and seraphim falling down before thee,
who wert and art and evermore shalt be.

Holy, holy, holy! Though the darkness hide thee,
though the eye made blind by sin thy glory may not see,
only thou art holy; there is none beside thee,
perfect in power, in love, and purity.

Holy, holy, holy! Lord God Almighty!
All thy works shall praise thy name, in earth and sky and sea;
holy, holy, holy! merciful and mighty,
God in three persons, blessed Trinity!

I also remember this:

All glory, laud, and honor, Greek Orthodox Palm Sunday
to thee, Redeemer, King,
to whom the lips of children
made sweet hosannas ring.

Thou art the King of Israel,
thou David’s royal Son,
who in the Lord’s name comest,
the King and Blessed One.

The company of angels
are praising thee on high,
and we with all creation
in chorus make reply.

The people of the Hebrews
with psalms before thee went;Palm Sunday El Salvadore
our prayer and praise and anthems
before thee we present.

To thee, before thy passion,
they sang their hymns of praise;
to thee, now high exalted,
our melody we raise.

Thou didst accept their praises;
accept the prayers we bring,
who in all good delightest,
thou good and gracious King.

Fact is, Palm Sunday hymns are the best. By far. Hands down.  And we can sing them with all our might because we know the end of this story – and it’s the best ending of them all.


About Charles Redfern

Charles Redfern is a writer, activist, and clergyman living in Connecticut with his wife and family. He's currently writing two books, with more in his head.

View all posts by Charles Redfern


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