By John A. Lang
When the religious leaders saw the outrageous things He was doing, and heard all the children running and shouting through the Temple, “Hosanna to David’s Son!” they were up in arms and took Him to task, “Do you hear what these children are saying?” Jesus said, “Yes, I hear them. And haven’t you read in God’s Word, ‘From the mouths of children and babies I’ll furnish a place of praise’?”
—Matthew 21:15-16, The Message
Jesus had entered Jerusalem that day and the people were all shouting, “Blessed is he who comes in God’s name! Hosanna in highest heavens!” “Hosanna” is a word of prayer and a word of praise. It means, “Save us!” in the first instance. Secondly it is a prayer of praise for the coming of the One who saves. First, however, it is a plea for help: “Save us! Save us! Save us! God in the highest heavens, Save us!”
We often forget that there are nearly five full chapters of Matthew’s Gospel between the entry into Jerusalem and the Crucifixion. In between, Jesus was busy in the city; teaching, healing, telling some of the most amazing parables, and revealing to everyone that He must die soon. Jesus entered the city in order to save the city; by His teaching, by His healing gifts, and, finally, by His suffering and death. And, nearly all the people in the crowd threw their garments down on the road, giving Him a royal welcome. Others cut branches from the trees and threw them down as a welcome mat. Crowds went ahead and crowds followed, all of them calling out, “Hosanna!”
Jessie entered the city in her little old battered pickup truck. The streets were deserted. Here and there masked figures scurried along as if afraid of their own shadows.
The Sun was up, It was a bright crisp Spring day. Birds could be heard singing in the city. How strange. There were no sounds of traffic to drown out their songs. No one heard the birds, for most of them were inside; isolated from one another and isolated from the Enemy that stalked them all.
Jessie drove on up the wide empty boulevard watching and listening. There were no horns or trains clattering or planes soaring in the sky. All was silent in the city.
Jessie drove on with her little old battered pickup truck full of supplies. First she stopped at a convention center which was now a home for the homeless. She heard their voices as she entered, “Save us! Save us! Save us!” and she gave them food.
Driving on, Jessie came to an enormous stadium that housed an emergency hospital. She drove up into the loading dock and she heard voices echoing across the empty bleachers, “Save us! Save us! Save us! and she unloaded medical equipment from her old pickup truck.
As she travelled north, a most amazing thing happened. It was 7:00 o’clock in the evening and suddenly people emerged from there dwellings and stood on porches and balconies and began to clap their hands and cheer. And Jessie saw the doctors and the nurses and the EMTS and the police and fire personnel going out and coming in on their shift changes…
…and she went to each of them and out of her little old battered pickup truck she gave them each new Personal Protective Equipment—so that those going out would have what they needed for the morrow and those who were coming into the hospitals would have the protection they needed to care for their patients.
Jessie traveled on up the boulevard until she came to another hospital and the children were calling out of the windows and the doors, “Save us! Save us! Save us!” And their parents standing outside wept and cried even louder, “Save us! Save us! Save us!” And Jessie parked her now empty little old battered pickup truck outside of the Children’s Hospital and reached into the empty bed of the truck and donned the one last suit of Personal Protective Equipment she had, and she went into the hospital and reported for the night shift.
The children and babies were crying out, “Save us! Save us! Save us!” And Jessie made her rounds cuddling the little ones and singing them songs and telling them stories and along the way, giving up first her face shield to a friend and the her face mask to another. She gave her gloves to a tech lacking gloves as he took temperatures at the entrance, and then she donated her protective suit to a surgeon whose suit was torn.
Dressed now only in her scrubs, Jessie continued to work among the children. All night she heard them crying, “Save us! Save us! Save us!” and she held them in her arms and sang to them and told them stories until morning came and it was time for a new shift to take over, and the evening came and it was time for another change of personnel.
The staff arriving the next morning found Jessie seated in a rocking chair and holding a now very healthy baby in her arms. Jessie, exposed to the Enemy, had died. Someone discovered her little old battered pick up truck outside. They placed her body in the bed of the truck and a volunteer drove it to the edge of the city. It was 7:00 o’clock in the evening, and the people emerged from their homes and apartments and condos and applauded as Jessie’s old battered pickup rolled down the boulevard to the city’s edge.
Not knowing what to do next, Andrew, the volunteer driver parked the old pickup truck in a lakeside park and walked home into the city.
The next day, that little old battered pickup was seen entering the city once again. As it passed, the people cried out, “Save us! Save us! Save us!” and Andrew drove the little old battered pickup truck up to…
…And the Sun rose once again; and in time, the city was saved. The whole world had been made whole. And then the people found that little old battered pickup truck and they placed it in the big park in the center of the city and beneath it were the names of: Jessie, Andrew, Philip, Abdule, Jermaine, Quamie, Sharon, William, Cassandra, Rachel, Warren, and all of the other drivers of that little old battered pickup truck that brought them into the city day-after-day and carried them out again as they gave their all to respond to the call, “Save us! Save us! Save us!”. Just above those names was a single word: HOSANNA! And the city was saved. And the world was made whole. Thanks be to God. Amen.
Rev. John Lang
Immanuel Lutheran Church