Reflection on cries for help & rescue: the meaning of Hosanna.

Themes from Gospel of John for Palm Sunday.

Help Now! That’s what hosanna actually means. On Palm Sunday, we celebrate with the word Hosanna, but what we’re actually doing is calling out for rescue, for intercession, for help. Immediately. Right now.

When do you need help for yourself? Yet how hard is it to receive help, instead being the one with the capacity and resources to offer help? This is the puzzle and the blessing: how we become hope for others by accepting hope for ourselves, too. — Rev Gail

Tigers Above, Tigers Below

There is a story of a woman running away from tigers. She runs and runs and the tigers are getting closer and closer. When she comes to the edge of a cliff, she sees some vines there, so she climbs down and holds on to the vines. Looking down, she sees that there are tigers below her as well. She then notices that a mouse is gnawing away at the vine to which she is clinging. She also sees a beautiful little bunch of strawberries close to her, growing out of a clump of grass. She looks up and she looks down. She looks at the mouse. Then she just takes a strawberry, puts it in her mouth, and enjoys it thoroughly. Tigers above, tigers below. This is actually the predicament that we are always in, in terms of our birth and death. Each moment is just what it is. It might be the only moment of our life; it might be the only strawberry we’ll ever eat. We could get depressed about it, or we could finally appreciate it and delight in the preciousness of every single moment of our life. ― Pema Chödrön

HELP For Ourselves; HOPE for Others

Non nobis solum nati sumus. (Not for ourselves alone are we born.) ― Marcus Tullius Cicero

The purpose of life is not to be happy. It is to be useful, to be honorable, to be compassionate, to have it make some difference that you have lived and lived well. ― Ralph Waldo Emerson

No one is useless in this world who lightens the burdens of another. ― Charles Dickens

When we give cheerfully and accept gratefully, everyone is blessed. ― Maya Angelou

Doing nothing for others is the undoing of ourselves. ― Horace Mann

It’s not enough to have lived. We should be determined to live for something. May I suggest that it be creating joy for others, sharing what we have for the betterment of personkind, bringing hope to the lost and love to the lonely. ― Leo Buscaglia

Compassion is not a relationship between the healer and the wounded. It’s a relationship between equals. Only when we know our own darkness well can we be present with the darkness of others. Compassion becomes real when we recognize our shared humanity. ― Pema Chödrön

Remember this. Hold on to this. This is the only perfection there is, the perfection of helping others. This is the only thing we can do that has any lasting meaning. This is why we’re here. To make each other feel safe. ― Andre Agassi

My job isn’t to fix or rescue or to save. It’s to accompany, see people, listen to them. — Greg Boyle

A lot of the time we don’t know when we’re surrendering that we’re actually, at the same time, maybe establishing connection … to a power greater than ourselves — or something in the next concentric circle out whose name is not me. So, that to me is where help begins. You know, we’re often ashamed of asking for so much help because it seems selfish or petty or narcissistic, but I think, if there’s a God — and I believe there is — that God is there to help. That’s what God’s job is. — Anne Lamott

HELP NOW! What Hosanna Means

But what I didn’t know until this week is what the word “hosanna” actually means.  All these years, I thought it meant some churchy version of “We adore you!” or “You rock!” or “Go, king!”  It doesn’t. In Hebrew, it means something less adulatory and more desperate.  Less generous and more demanding.  It means, “Save now!”  — Debie Thomas

The Hebrew word Halleluia means “praise the Lord;” Hosanna means “save us!” or “save!” — Steve Vredenburgh

“Hosanna” does come from an old Hebrew phrase, but one that was less praise and more desperate plea. “Save now!” It was a phrase stripped of all pretense of politeness. “Help!” Its insistent cry was one reserved for royalty or divinity. “Deliver us! Don’t wait!” The people are either calling Jesus “king” or “God” or both. … My own mind is drawn today to Anne Lamott’s book … Help, Thanks, Wow: The Three Essential Prayers. In it, Lamott says that all prayers boil down to these three simple words: help, thanks, wow. And more often than not, these concepts overlap and run together. … I think a truly holy Hosanna can hold these three words together, this help, thanks, and wow. Hosanna cries for deliverance. It calls out in gratitude. And it gives voice to holy awe. — Marthame Sanders

ON PALMS

Love
— Rumi
Are you fleeing from Love because of a single humiliation?
What do you know of Love except the name?
Love has a hundred forms of pride and disdain,
and is gained by a hundred means of persuasion.
Since Love is loyal, it purchases one who is loyal:
it has no interest in a disloyal companion.
The human being resembles a tree; its root is a covenant with God:
that root must be cherished with all one’s might.
A weak covenant is a rotten root, without grace or fruit.
Though the boughs and leaves of the date palm are green,
greenness brings no benefit if the root is corrupt.
If a branch is without green leaves, yet has a good root,
a hundred leaves will put forth their hands in the end..


About Palms

It is the nature of the strong heart, that like the palm tree it strives ever upwards when it is most burdened. — Philip Sidney

The olive branch has been consecrated to peace, palm branches to victory, the laurel to conquest and poetry, the myrtle to love and pleasure, the cypress to mourning, and the willow to despondency. — Dorothea Dix

COMMENTARY on Palm Sunday & Hosanna!

We think of “Hosanna” as a shout of praise, but the basic meaning of this Hebrew word is “Help!” It is an SOS cry. That appears to be the way the first Palm Sunday crowd used it. Having heard of Jesus’ ability to feed an army with a school boy’s lunch and His recent accomplishment of bringing a dead Lazarus back to life, they were convinced He was a candidate for the monarchy. “Jesus, Help! Expel our hated Roman rulers. You be our King!” How disappointed they were when Jesus, after riding into the capitol city on the wave of the crowd’s enthusiasm, merely looked around and walked back out. — Merwin VanDoornik

Marcus Borg and John Dominic Crossan argue that two processions entered Jerusalem on that first Palm Sunday two thousand years ago; Jesus’s was not the only Triumphal Entry.   Every year during Passover — the Jewish festival that swelled Jerusalem’s population from its usual 50,000 to at least 200,000 — the Roman governor of Judea would ride up to Jerusalem from his coastal residence in the west.  He would come in all of his imperial majesty to remind the Jewish pilgrims that Rome demanded their complete loyalty, obedience, and submission.  The Jewish people could commemorate their ancient victory against Egypt and slavery if they wanted to.  But if they tried any real time resistance, they would be obliterated without a second thought. As Pilate clanged and crashed his imperial way into Jerusalem from the west, Jesus approached from the east, looking (by contrast) ragtag and absurd.  Unlike the Roman emperor and his legions, who ruled by force, coercion, and terror, Jesus came defenseless and weaponless into his kingship.  Riding on a donkey, he all but cried aloud the bottom-line truth that his rule would have nothing to recommend it but love, humility, long-suffering, and sacrifice.  — Debie Thomas

And so there were two groups on that first Palm Sunday. There were the religious fanatics who said, “Jesus, give me a miracle and then I will believe.” And then there were the political fanatics who said, “Restore our freedom and get rid of the Romans.” Both groups chanted, “Hosanna to the Son of David. Hosanna to the Son of David. The king of Israel has come.” And that is the way it was. It was a carnival. It was a circus. It was revolution on the move. What was Jesus doing? What was Jesus doing with this mass of humanity around him? What was Jesus doing in the midst of this psychedelic kaleidoscope of madness? Was he standing up on the back seat of his chariot and waving to the crowd like some politician? Was he riding on that chariot with arms upward and outward and his fingers spiking a “V” sign for victory? Was he waving at all those people in their second story windows as they were throwing confetti on him? Was he pumping them up with political oratory to get the political revolution moving? No. Here in this cacophony of craziness, Jesus didn’t say a word. He rode in silence. Silence. — Edward Markqart

Hosanna— Jesus Christ Superstar (music by Andrew Lloyd Weber, lyrics by Tim Rice)

Hey Sanna Sanna Sanna Hosanna
Hey Sanna Hosanna
Hey JC, JC, won’t you smile at me?
Sanna Hosanna hey Superstar
Tell the rabble to be quiet, we anticipate a riot
This common crowd is much too loud
Tell the mob who sing your song
That they are fools and they are wrong
They are a curse, they should disperseHosanna
Hey Sanna Sanna Sanna Hosanna
Hey Sanna Hosanna
Hey JC, JC, you’re alright by me
Sanna Hosanna hey SuperstarWhy waste your breath moaning at the crowd?
Nothing can be done to stop the shouting
If every tongue was still, the noise would still continue
The rocks and stones themselves would start to singHosanna
Hey Sanna Sanna Sanna Hosanna
Hey Sanna Hosanna
Hey JC, JC, won’t you fight for me?
Sanna Hosanna hey SuperstarSing me your songs
But not for me alone
Sing out for yourselves
For you are blessed
There is not one of you
Who can not win the kingdom
The slow, the suffering
The quick, the deadHosanna
Hey Sanna Sanna Sanna Hosanna
Hey Sanna Hosanna
Hey JC, JC won’t you die for me?
Sanna Hosanna hey Superstar
Superstar


This Week: Mar 25-Apr 1 — Holy Week Events & Other Activities

SUN, MAR 25: Palm Sunday

  • INTERFAITH GATHERING
    8am • Madeline’s Deli, Jackson, NH
    Reflection & prayer using literature, sacred texts, personal sharing.
  • ADULT CHOIR PRACTICE
    9am • Jackson Community Church
  • PALM PROCESSION
    9:45am • Jackson Community Church
  • WORSHIP: Palm Sunday
    10:30am • Jackson Community Church
  • Community Event: Bliss Yoga
    3pm • Be Well Studios New Hampshire, 3358 White Mountain Hwy Unit 3, North Conway, NH
    Yoga with
    Anjali Rose, $20/pp

MON, MAR 26

  • REIKI WORKSHOP (closed class, April class has openings: contact Rev Gail if interested)
    6pm • Classroom/Betty Whitney Library, Second Floor of JCC

TUE, MAR 27

  • Community Event:
    HOMELESSNESS COALITION in Tamworth, NH

    10am-Noon • TriCounty Cap, Sununu Room, Tamworth, NH
    Overview of issues and initiatives to address homelessness and housing needs in Carroll County/Mt Washington Valley. Rev Gail will attend this meeting along with other valley clergy, and representatives of local agencies and nonprofits, focusing on this issue. Interested individuals are welcome to attend to learn more.

WED, MAR 28

  • PASTOR’s DROP-IN 
    7-9am • JTown Deli.
    Come for caffeine, cuisine, and conversation.
  • TUNE UP (Fitness) with LAURIE McALEER
    9am • Parish Hall, Jackson Community Church.
    Free. Join members of the women’s group and fitness trainer Laurie McAleer for a gentle, introductory fitness class for beginners. Wear comfortably clothing, sensible shoes, and bring a bottle of water. Bring a ski pole. Men and women both welcome to come try this class. Laurie will lead a fitness class that can be customized to each person’s abilities, and help improve overall wellbeing, as well as focusing on body areas that may need additional support and care.
  • WOMEN’S GROUP
    10am-Noon • Parish Hall
    Come for social time, refreshments, and to prepare eggs for Easter Egg hunt on April 1

THURS, MAR 29

  • INTRODUCTORY YOGA with Anjali Rose
    9am • Parish Hall, Jackson Community Church
    Men and women invited to join instructor Anjali Rose for a gentle, introductory yoga class. Wear stretchy fitness clothing, bring a matt and a cushion/blanket if you have them. $10/class for 6 weeks; payable at beginning of session.  Scholarships available. This session runs through April 19.
  • YOGA & MEDITATION with Charlotte Doucette
    3:30pm • Parish Hall. $10/pp fee. (Scholarships available)
  • MAUNDY THURSDAY OBSERVANCES: Bread & Blessings
    5pm • Parish Hall of Jackson Community Church.
    Gather with members and friends for dinner and worship. This evening is derived from events surrounding the ‘Last Supper’ and will include a meditation on bread and blessings.
  • AA
    6-7pm • Church Library

THURS, Mar 29 – FRI, MAR 30: HOLY FRIDAY VIGIL

  • VIGIL
    6pm Thursday until 1pm Friday • Shifts held at home, although church is open 24/7 and people are welcome to hold vigil at the church. Individuals and families can sign up in one-hour shifts from 6pm Thursday until 3pm Friday, to pray, meditate and stay awake during the hours of Christ’s arrest, trial and crucifixion. This vigil will be held ‘by trust’ in people’s homes, or at church if they so choose, so that each person who takes a one-hour shift to keep vigil may do so in their own environs. Sign up at church on Palm Sunday.

FRI, MAR 30: HOLY FRIDAY

  • WAY of the CROSS
    1pm • Jackson Community Church
    Come for journey through ‘stations of the cross.’ Walk the stations, or meditate with Stations coloring pages
  • HOLY FRIDAY SERVICE
    6:30pm •  Bartlett Congregational Church.
    Ecumenical worship services organized by Clergy of the Eastern Slope and hosted at Bartlett Congregational Church.

SAT, MAR 30: HOLY SATURDAY

  • Community Event:
    HEALING SERVICE

    1pm • Christ Episcopal Church, North Conway, NH

SUN, APR 1: EASTER

  • SUNRISE SERVICE
    6:30am • Gazebo by Jackson’s Historical Society. Gather outside for worship & song. Return to Jackson Community Church for hot beverages and breakfast.
  • EASTER SERVICE
    10:30am •  Jackson Community Church.
    Easter worship with “flowering of the cross.”
  • EGG HUNT
    Follows worship service  •  Jackson Community Church. Hunt for eggs on grounds of church. Hunt will take place outdoors if weather permits, inside if weather is inclement.