Christ Evangelical Lutheran Church - Marshfield, WI

Lent Devotional - April 3, 2023

Hymn: “Hosanna, Loud Hosanna” (LSB #443, v. 1 & 3)
Hosanna, loud hosanna,
The little children sang;
Through pillared court and temple
The lovely anthem rang.
To Jesus, who had blessed them,
Close folded to His breast,
The children sang their praises,
The simplest and the best.
“Hosanna in the highest!”
That ancient song we sing;
For Christ is our Redeemer,
The Lord of heav’n our King.
Oh, may we ever praise Him
With heart and life and voice
And in His blissful presence
Eternally rejoice!
            “From the mouths of children and infants You have ordained praise” (Psalm 8:2). Jesus repeatedly extols the importance of a childlike faith. He blessed the children when the disciples sent them away. “Let the children come to me, and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of God. Truly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it” (Luke 18:16–17). The little children sang their praises that Palm Sunday morning during the procession into Jerusalem. They knew who their Savior was and they sang at the top of their little lungs to honor the One who had loved them.

            How mightily we are put to shame by the praises of these children. When I am leading liturgy on Sunday mornings, I am constantly amazed by the loud voice of one particular child who sits near the front row, drowning out all of the mumbles of the adults around her. I hear that child’s voice clear as crystal almost every week. This hymn calls that sound an incredible adjective: lovely. The loud sound of children singing the praises of Jesus is a lovely anthem. Back in Jesus’s day, as the children sang their praises, some of the adults gathered in hushed tones to figure out how to get rid of this Jesus who blessed the children. Even in our day, as the children sing their praises, some of the adults murmur (or worse yet, are silent) as the praises of the King are declared.

            Instead, this hymn invites us to sing the ancient song, “Hosanna in the highest!” We are invited to ever praise Him, not just with our voice, but also with our heart and life. Indeed, this sort of loud praise is only possible because Christ is our Redeemer and the Lord of heaven is our King. Jesus Christ has purchased us back from sin, death, and the power of the devil. Jesus Christ is the King who was willing to hang upon His throne of the cross, even unto death. He has saved us and we are His. We cannot help but sing His praises with loud and cheerful voice. After all, the Psalms encourage us to “make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth!” (Psalm 100:1). Nothing is said about a beautiful noise. You don’t even have to be a good singer. The fact that it is God’s own people singing makes it beautiful in the eyes of the Almighty. Christ has redeemed you, a formerly lost and condemned person, and so we cry out a loud “Hosanna!”

            We rejoice now, but the rejoicing shall even magnify when we stand in His blissful presence. The singing of God’s people is joyful now, but shall be even more joyful when we see Him face to face. We who praise Him now look forward to praising Him then, because Christ shall do as He has promised. He shall bring His ransomed worshippers to Himself when He returns to this earth and saves us at last, fulfilling our cry of “Hosanna.” The presence of the Lord has that sort of effect on the Lord’s people. It causes them to cry out “Hosanna. Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord.”

            It is no wonder that we ourselves share this cry when we celebrate the Lord’s Supper. One of the most beautiful songs we sing in all of our liturgies is the “Sanctus,” which begins with the threefold cry of “Holy,” ascribing to each person of the Trinity the holiness He is due. Then, after acknowledging that heaven and earth are full of His glory, we cry out “Hosanna. Hosanna. Hosanna in the highest.” Indeed, the very presence of Jesus in His own body and blood is coming to us in the Sacrament. The presence of the Lord causes His people to praise Him. The salvation which comes when our God draws near causes us to cry out loudly.

            You, dear Christian friend, will have numerous opportunities in the next seven days to receive the Lord’s good gifts in this Sacrament. Your Lord is drawing near to you in order to save. Take this opportunity to receive His good gifts. And when it comes time to sing anew the Sanctus, raise your loud voice like the little children on Palm Sunday. Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord. Yes, indeed, blessed is He.
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