“All glory, laud and honor to thee, Redeemer, King,
To whom the lips of children made sweet hosannas ring!”
-Refrain from All Glory, Laud, and Honor
The hymn, All Glory, Laud, and Honor, is a well-known Palm Sunday hymn, and one that we’ll be singing together this coming Sunday online and at the Drive-in service. We sing it on Palm Sunday as we remember Jesus’ triumphal entry in Jerusalem. The text to this hymn and the music go back farther than you might think.
The melody is originally a Lutheran hymn, composed in 1613, and was originally a hymn for the dying. The melody had nothing to do with Palm Sunday or the text we now associate with this melody, but Bach used the melody in some of his religious works, including the St John Passion. The text for this hymn was written in 820! It’s old as dirt! The text was composed in Latin specifically for Palm Sunday and it had no less than 39 verses. Can you even imagine a hymn with 39 verses? We’d need a much bigger hymnal if all of our hymns had so many verses!
Palm Sunday is also called Passion Sunday, which leads us to Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, and Easter. We Presbyterians celebrate both Jesus’ entry in Jerusalem and the start of Holy Week. Without dwelling on the Passion, we go from Hosanna to Hallelujah, but we miss the really important stuff in the middle. We may almost rationalize the crucifixion as something that bad people did – we wouldn’t have been with the crowd. But, I wonder if we act in ways that are more like those shouting for crucifixion than we’d like to admit.
Ghandi is often quoted with saying, “I like your Christ, I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ,” and this is something to ponder as we head into Holy Week. None of us is perfect, but if we’re honest with ourselves, there are parts of our lives where we don’t act very Christ-like. Do we welcome Jesus into our lives with joy only to then turn around and act in a way that is contrary to God’s love? As we approach Passiontide, ponder on what sets you apart from the crowd, and what makes you an accomplice with them.