By Denise Trull
There are those “first” days in our spiritual journey when the hosannas are new. The palms are green, fresh, supple. We are filled with hope and courage, and we lay down our praise so readily before the King, blissfully forgetting, in our joy, that the cross will be coming soon. Prayer is easy. We are filled with heady conversion. We make rash promises that we will follow him anywhere. We shout hosanna and it feels grand and so noble of us to offer ourselves to His service so completely. We get caught up in the spectacle of it all. We each know those first days.
Then the palms begin to fade. Life gets a bit more brittle, sadder in places. It slowly dawns on us what we have promised, and perhaps we are humbled unto silence that we spoke too soon, these easy hosannas. We slowly begin to understand the price and wonder anxiously if we, too, might very well be capable of betraying Him for our own easy thirty pieces of silver. And we run to prayer and beg Him “Not I, Lord, please not I."
We learn to sing differently. We learn that sometimes hosanna is raised in deep sorrow. In struggling daily with persistent, merciless temptations, in being un-explainably slighted by friends, being made a laughing stock by the things we believe, feeling useless to others in old age, feeling invisible in the world, being crushed by loneliness, illness, anxiety for a loved but wayward child. The tedious tickings of time spent at prayer when all we want to do is run from the sudden darkness in our souls where once light and joy easily shone -- but we stay. We feel the sudden, surprising weight of the beam. We learn the price of hosanna, of what it means to praise a king whose throne is a cross. We learn slowly to keep singing. Hosanna.
If we humbly allow the palms of our daily dyings to get dry enough, old enough, brittle enough, utterly given over in the course of our lives, then one day, at the end of things, we will offer them to the Holy Spirit’s fire -- this pyre of our life, sacrificed. And suddenly the wild beauty of His flames will consume it into ashes. Ashes that will be crossed upon our foreheads. The sign of our salvation -- the sign that now we belong to Him, the King of the flaming, consuming hosanna. The sign by which He will know us. And from these ashes we will rise to glory with Him. Hosanna.