By Diana Bridges
Psalm 118:1-2, 19-29
This week I heard the story of a woman who became alienated from the faith of her childhood. She realized she no longer believed and shared that information with a trusted friend. That friend listened sympathetically and pointed her toward a book she’d never before seen. She found it online because no hard copies were available. As she read, she came to a passage that took her breath away. She told her friend that she had always hoped such words were true: “Blessed are the peacemakers… Blessed are the merciful… Blessed are the pure in heart… Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness…” She knew she wanted to follow the One who had spoken these words.
On Palm Sunday many in Jerusalem greeted Jesus with enthusiasm, but few with understanding. They believed he had come to deliver them from their political adversaries (who were powerful), religious rivals (who were stubborn—and wrong), or their troubles (which were many). Most never dreamed that he came to deliver them from themselves—from their own addictions to power and religiosity, among other things. They didn’t realize that they needed to be rescued not just from the cruelty of others, but from the many self-inflicted wounds that are in some quarters known as sin.
The woman who encountered the story of Jesus for the first time was overcome by eucatastrophe. Tolkien, who invented this word, defined it as “the sudden happy turn in a story which pierces you with a joy that brings tears.” What she wished most to be true actually, miraculously was. She had been dreaming of Truth much deeper than that offered by the systems of our world, one that changed the world as it changed people
When we utter the word Hosanna today, let’s be thankful for the saving work accomplished up until now in our lives and mindful of the work that remains to be done.